Labor Dept. Funding Proposals to Be Reconciled

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By Tyrone Richardson

Congressional lawmakers will conference Sept. 13 to reconcile House and Senate versions of legislation to fund the Labor Department, the National Labor Relations Board, and related agencies.

The panel of select members from the two chambers will work to iron out versions of legislation (H.R. 6157) that would fund the agencies after the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Health and Human Services is also one of the agencies covered under the measure.

The Senate passed a minibus appropriators package Aug. 24 that provides $12.1 billion in discretionary funding for the DOL for fiscal year 2019, about $92 million less than Congress enacted last year. The House version also seeks about $12.1 billion for the DOL.

The potential sticking point for the two chambers comes with funding proposals for the NLRB. That agency is tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act, which covers employer and union relations. The Senate seeks to keep the NLRB at its current $274 million spending level, but the House measure would trim funding by about 5 percent.

The House legislation also includes policy riders, such as a provision to undo an Obama-era NLRB decision that expanded “joint employer” liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.

The conference panel includes Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Republican House members on the panel include Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.), Hal Rogers (Ky.), Robert Aderholt (Ala.), Kay Granger (Texas), Ken Calvert (Calif.), Tom Cole (Okla.), Steve Womack (Ark.), and Martha Roby (Ala.). Democratic House members on the panel are Reps. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), Pete Visclosky (Ind.), Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.), and Betty McCollum (Minn.).

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