Federal agencies

House committee passes budget bill that cuts OSHA funding


Washington – The House Appropriations Committee passed a budget on June 24 that would cut OSHA funding by nearly $18 million.

In a vote along party lines, the committee’s Republican majority approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill to fund OSHA at $535 million for fiscal year 2016. OSHA’s current budget is $552.7 million, and President Barack Obama requested $592 million for the agency in FY 2016.

The bill includes a policy rider that would prohibit OSHA inspectors from implementing any agency policy allowing third parties to accompany compliance officers on an inspection without a vote of approval by the employees. In 2013, OSHA clarified that workers at a site without a collective bargaining agreement can designate a person affiliated with a union or community organization to represent them during walkarounds or act on their behalf.

This is the first time in six years that the Appropriations Committee has passed a labor spending bill. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

The House committee vote comes a day after a Senate subcommittee approved a bill to reduce OSHA’s budget for FY 2016 by 5 percent to $524 million. At press time, the full Senate Appropriations Committee was expected to take up the bill June 25.