President Donald Trump's administration's proposed 2020 budget has garnered much attention for its steep cuts, including a 31 percent drop in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, which represents the largest percentage reduction of any department, according to The Washington Post. Massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid have proven even more controversial, and likely portend a significant battle between the White House and Congress over the final details of "A Budget for a Better America."
Some agencies that stand to gain from the President's proposal, however, include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, both of which would receive modest increases in funding.
Released on March 11, President Trump's fiscal year 2020 budget proposal features a very slight bump in OSHA funding, allocating $300,000 more than the $557.2 million that the agency received in fiscal year 2019. The proposal would also add 26 full-time equivalent compliance safety and health officers to the agency, along with five FTE whistleblower investigators.
MSHA would receive a more significant increase of $2.2 million added to its $373.8 million FY 2019 budget. The proposal also seeks to combine coal mine safety and health enforcement with metal/nonmetal mine enforcement, allocating $273,000 less for these activities.
Despite the increased funding for both OSHA and MSHA, the proposal would slash the Department of Labor's overall budget by $1.2 billion, a nearly 10 percent reduction, to a total of $10.9 billion in FY 2020.
The Trump administration's proposal would raise OSHA's federal enforcement budget by nearly $3.8 million, safety and health statistics by $5.5 million, whistleblower programs by $1.1 million and federal compliance assistance by $433,000.
In order to help offset the roughly $10.8 million in budget hikes, the administration has also proposed the elimination of the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, which received $10.5 million in FY 2019. This marks the third straight year the White House has sought to completely cut the Susan Harwood Grant, and will likely mark the third straight year of Congressional opposition.
According to the Department of Labor's budget summary, the department seeks to "maximize flexibility and use alternative methods to develop and distribute training materials to reach the broadest possible audience."
The administration is also attempting to eliminate the Chemical Safety Board, also for the third consecutive year, according to Safety and Health Magazine. The announcement is expected to appear in the White House Office of Management and Budget's "Major Savings and Reforms" supplement, which will likely be released on March 18.
Congress has also resisted the White House's two previous efforts to eliminate the Chemical Safety Board and appears poised to do so for a third time, with Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives. In its own FY 2020 budget request, the Chemical Safety Board has requested a $1.5 million increase for a $12.5 million total.
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