President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal year 2020 budget sought to slash the Department of Labor's overall budget by $1.2 billion. However, it also included modest funding increases for two of the department's agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Now the U.S. House of Representatives, led by its new Democratic majority, is countering with an even more sizeable funding boost for OSHA and MSHA, according to a draft bill released April 29. The draft bill was approved by the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee during a markup the next day.
The Trump administration's proposed budget for OSHA, released March 11, slightly raised the agency's $557.2 million FY 2019 budget by $300,000. The House's new budget proposal dwarfs that figure by approximately $103 million, allocating more than $660.9 million for OSHA in FY 2020.
For the third consecutive year, funding for the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program has become a source of contention between the White House and House Democrats. The Trump administration's budget proposal for FY 2020, like the administration's previous proposals for FY 2019 and FY 2018, would eliminate the program entirely.
The House is countering the Trump administration's proposed cuts with big funding increases for the Department of Labor.
According to the Department of Labor's budget summary, the department would like to "maximize flexibility and use alternative methods to develop and distribute training materials to reach the broadest possible audience" in lieu of the grants.
The House subcommittee, in contrast, proposes to give nearly $12.7 million to the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, a more than $2 million increase from the $10.5 million in funding the program received in FY 2019.
The House's draft bill would also be more generous in funding MSHA, which would receive almost $417.3 million, or about $41.3 million more than the Trump administration's proposal allocated. The agency had a $373.8 million budget in FY 2019, which the White House's budget proposal sought to increase by $2.2 million in FY 2020.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health would get a $10 million bump up from FY 2019 budget with the House's proposal of $346.3 million, which is roughly $156 million more than the administration proposed for NIOSH.
In all, the House budget proposal would allocate $1.2 billion more to DOL than the $13.3 billion the department received in FY 2019, while the administration's proposal would cut the department's funding by that same amount.
The budget proposal will next go before the full House Appropriations Committee for markup, according to Safety and Health Magazine.
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