On Monday, the Bush administration’s top mine safety official, David Dye, appeared before a Senate subcommittee to explain the administration’s response to the Sago mining disaster. Specifically, senators wanted to know why mine safety has been consistently underfunded under President Bush, and why regulations have been rolled back or weakly enforced.
Unfortunately, David Dye has a busy schedule. After an hour of questioning, Dye announced he had “some really pressing matters” to attend to, and asked to leave the hearing. Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) urged him not to: “Your presence will be required here for at least one more hour.”
But Dye insisted:
We have been diverted, dealing with these matters. We were happy to prepare for the hearing, but we really need to get back and attend to all this. There’s 15,000 mines in the United States, and we’ve got some really pressing matters.
The New York Times describes what occured next:
After Mr. Specter added, “That’s the committee’s request, but you’re not under subpoena,” Mr. Dye got up and walked out.
“I can’t recollect it ever happening before,” Mr. Specter said of the departure. “We’ll find a way to take appropriate note of it.”