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The House late Sept. 12 approved an amendment that would prohibit funds from being used to merge the EEOC and the Labor Department’s contractor compliance office.
The amendment to spending legislation (H.R. 3358) that would fund the DOL and other government agencies, offered by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), was adopted by voice vote. The House is scheduled to vote on the “minibus” appropriations bill by the end of the week.
The proposal to merge the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is “a total mess,” said Scott, the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
“Both have important missions, but combining them would be total confusion,” Scott told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 13. “The Chamber of Commerce opposed the merger, civil rights groups opposed the merger, and the Senate already had language in their bill taking away the merger, so I think it was appropriate in the House bill to also make a statement.”
The House amendment follows the Senate Appropriations Committee’s rejection last week of the proposed merger, which can’t occur without lawmaker support. A number of legislative and regulatory actions would be required to consolidate the agencies and to reconcile their different enforcement structures and approaches.
President Donald Trump proposed the agency merger in his fiscal 2018 budget request as part of efforts to promote government efficiency and effectiveness.
Business and civil rights groups, however, criticized the proposal, arguing that the agencies should remain separate because of their different enforcement goals and legal authority.
Worker advocates also voiced concerns about a merger leading to less anti-discrimination enforcement to the detriment of workers.
At the same time, management-side stakeholders raised concerns about transferring the power to withhold government contracts from a Cabinet-level agency to an independent commission, as well as potentially exposing contractors to even more liability for damages under a combined agency.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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