Addressing Concerns about the Integrity of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Jobs Reporting
Chairman's Preview Statement
9:30am in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building
When President Obama took office, he promised the American people he’d have “the most transparent administration in history.” From that point on – this was the standard to which Obama Administration would be held.
Almost four years later, more and more it seems that by their own actions, this Administration is on the wrong side of transparency.
The U.S. Department of Labor has jeopardized the integrity of employment data- in some cases for clearly political reasons.
Now, without clear provocation, the DOL is unilaterally changing the method by which the media accessed Bureau of Labor Statistics job data. The proposed changes are set to take effect next week.
According to a coalition of media organizations, Sunshine in Government, this set of changes will “necessarily inhibit journalists from producing thorough, timely and accurate reporting based on market-moving information.” Undoubtedly, this impending action has serious freedom of the press implications. We will hear directly from two leading media organizations about their concerns, as well as from a first-amendment advocate.
The abrupt nature of this change coupled with the absence of a clear explanation and a lack of public input raises key questions about who made the decision to implement this change and why.
The Department of Labor needs to reverse course on this wrong-headed policy change. And if they fail to do so, the White House must intervene. The President is ultimately responsible when a cabinet department embarks on an initiative that runs counter to both his own promises and the First Amendment.