House Considers Workplace Safety Agency Spending Cuts

By Bruce Rolfsen

July 6 — OSHA spending would be cut by about 3 percent in fiscal year 2017, according to a draft bill released July 6 by the House Appropriations Committee.

Cuts are also proposed for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath (NIOSH).

The draft bill “provides responsible, adequate funding for labor enforcement and benefit protection agencies,” according to the committee's bill summary.

The decreases are part of $569 million in cuts, compared to fiscal year 2016 spending levels, proposed for a wide range of agencies from the Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services departments.

The bill—which will be considered July 7 by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Services Subcommittee—proposes a $534.4 million budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The proposal is $18.4 million less than the Senate Appropriations Committee's recommendation, which funded OSHA at the same amount it received for fiscal 2016.

The House bill doesn't provide details on how OSHA must spend the money, other than allocating $102 million for state plan enforcement efforts. The Senate bill sets aside $100.9 million for state plan enforcement.

Also not in the draft bill are policy riders focusing on OSHA's new silica and record keeping rules or its efforts to expand process safety management requirements to include more employers that previously qualified for a retail exemption. The Senate's proposed appropriation includes a process safety management rider.

Other Cuts

NIOSH's research efforts should receive $329.1 million, the House draft proposes. The Senate is proposing $334.1 million. Both amounts are below the $339.1 million the agency received for fiscal 2016.

MSHA's spending cap would be $350.5 million for fiscal 2017, the House draft says. If approved, that total would cut $25.4 million from $375.9 million the mine agency received for fiscal 2016. The Senate is seeking $375.8 million for MSHA.

The committee's summary said the recommended MSHA cut “reflects the declining need for various MSHA activities due to decreased mining activity across the country.”

Judicial Increases

The two judicial panels that employers can appeal OSHA and MSHA citations to would see small spending boosts under the House draft.

The draft bill calls for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to receive $13 million for fiscal 2017—about $400,000 more than its fiscal 2016 budget and $400,000 less than the Senate's proposal.

The Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is slated to get $17.9 million, the House draft says. The commission received $17.1 million for fiscal 2016 and the Senate is recommending $17.2 million for fiscal 2017.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at .

For More Information

The draft bill is available at

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