Federal agencies

Proposed FY 2018 budget: OSHA, MSHA face deeper slashes; NIOSH cuts not as sharp as expected

OSHA's headquarters in the U.S. Department of Labor building in Washington, DC

UPDATE: This story was updated July 20 after the House Appropriations Committee approved the bill July 19.

Washington – OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are in line for slightly deeper cuts in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee's funding bill released July 12. NIOSH, meanwhile, is slated to receive $125.2 million more than originally proposed.

The House Appropriations Committee allocated $531.5 million for OSHA in fiscal year 2018 – a decrease from $552.8 million in FY 2017 and lower than President Donald Trump’s proposed $543 million as part of the Department of Labor’s budget request released May 23.

A portion of the decreased funding is the elimination of the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, which provides funding to nonprofit organizations for the creation of worker safety training and education.

In a House budget hearing on June 7, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta said his department wants to supply direct training in place of the Harwood Grants, potentially saving $10.5 million.

The House Appropriations Committee released a more detailed appropriations bill before its July 19 markup. That legislation proposes to cut OSHA’s enforcement budget to $194.3 million in FY 2017 from $208 million and increase federal compliance assistance to $72.4 million from $71 million.

The committee also proposes to decrease MSHA’s coal mine enforcement budget to $149 million in FY 2017 from $160 million and metal/non-metal mine enforcement to $91.7 million from $94.5 million. President Trump’s DOL budget request sought to cut coal mine enforcement by approximately $3 million and add around $3.4 million to metal/non-metal mine enforcement.

MSHA is slated for $360 million – about $15.2 million less than the May budget proposal and about $13.8 million less than the FY 2017 budget.

“The funding level reflects the declining need for MSHA inspection activities due to the lower levels of mining across the country, and especially in coal production,” a July 12 House Appropriations Committee press release states.

NIOSH is set to receive $325.2 million – $10 million less than FY 2017. The agency was in line for $200 million in the DOL budget request.

The House Appropriations Committee has proposed a $1.3 billion decrease for DOL’s discretionary funding. President Trump had sought a $2.4 billion cut.

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