OSHA slated for big budget boost under newly passed House ‘minibus’ bill
Washington — The House on June 19 passed a “minibus” appropriations bill that includes fiscal year 2020 funding for OSHA, NIOSH, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The bill allocates more than $660.9 million for OSHA – around $103 million more than the Trump administration’s proposed budget for the agency, released March 11. The administration’s proposal slates OSHA for $300,000 more than its $557.2 million FY 2019 budget.
However, the minibus likely won’t pass the Republican-controlled Senate as is. It includes a large number of amendments, including one from Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) that would prohibit OSHA from finalizing or implementing a proposed rule to “weaken” the beryllium standard for the construction or maritime industries. Another from Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) would give $900,000 to NIOSH’s Firefighter Cancer Registry while deducting that same amount from the Department of Health and Human Services’ General Departmental Management account.
The bill also includes $12.7 million for the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, which the administration is seeking to eliminate for the third consecutive fiscal year. Even with Republicans controlling both chambers the past two fiscal years, Congress hasn’t complied, allocating a little more than $10.5 million for the program in FY 2019.
The Department of Labor wanted to “maximize flexibility and use alternative methods to develop and distribute training materials to reach the broadest possible audience” in lieu of the grants, the department’s budget summary states.
MSHA would receive almost $417.3 million – around $41.3 million more than the administration’s proposal. The agency had a $373.8 million budget in FY 2019. NIOSH would get a relatively modest $10 million boost in its FY 2020 budget with the House’s proposal of $346.3 million, or $156 million more than the administration’s request.
The Senate may craft its own funding bill or try to resolve any differences with the House bill in a conference committee.