Labor Dept. Budget Cut Heads for Trump’s Signature

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By Tyrone Richardson

The House advanced an appropriations measure Sept. 26 that would cut Labor Department funding, paving the way for President Donald Trump to sign the “minibus legislation.”

The House in a 361-61 vote passed legislation (H.R. 6157) to fund the DOL, the National Labor Relations Board, the Defense Department, the Health and Human Services Department, and related agencies for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

The bill includes $12.1 billion for the DOL, down $128 million from FY 2018 funding. The measure keeps NLRB funding at $274 million, unchanged from the current fiscal year for the agency tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sept. 26 that Trump is expected to sign the legislation, despite having voiced frustration that it doesn’t fund a proposed Mexico border wall. The minibus also includes a continuing resolution, which would extend funding for agencies not covered by completed appropriations bills through Dec. 7, averting a federal government shutdown at the end of this month

The passed legislation package was a compromise from previous House- and Senate-passed versions. Appropriators in both chambers reconciled the versions into one package that the Senate passed Sept. 18.

Senate and House versions of the legislation greatly mirrored each other in regard to proposed cuts to DOL spending. The House previously passed an appropriations package that would cut NLRB funding by about 5 percent.

The compromise legislation also removed controversial labor-related policy riders like a provision that would have reversed an Obama-era NLRB decision expanding joint employer liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.

The passed minibus rejects some of the deep agency cuts the Trump administration sought in its budget proposal released earlier this year. That included reducing the NLRB’s budget to $249 million and shaving the DOL’s to $10.9 billion. The administration budget proposal is seen as a wish list—an opening bid that may or may not influence what congressional lawmakers agree on in appropriations.

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