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House seeks $100 million budget increase for OSHA, draft bill shows

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Washington — The House is seeking approximately $712 million for OSHA’s fiscal year 2023 budget – roughly $100 million increase from FY 2022, according to a draft of its appropriations bill released June 22.

The proposal is about $11 million more than the $701 million requested in March by the Biden administration. The Senate, however, still has to weigh in with its proposed budget bill.

The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a markup session for June 30. The committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee met and approved the bill on June 23.

“I’ve long sought to strengthen worker protection agencies,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the committee and subcommittee, said during the June 23 session. “I’m proud this bill invests $2.2 billion for worker protection agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.” 

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), ranking member of the committee, noted that the bill is “based on a funding level that passed the House without Republican support.”

She continued: “In spite of our differences, we were able to come to an agreement and enact the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills. I am hopeful we will be able to do the same this year. … I look forward to finding common ground and finishing our work in a timely manner.”

Should it receive the budget increase, OSHA likely will use some of the funds to replenish its depleted staff. The agency had an all-time low of 750 inspectors at the end of FY 2021, according to a Bloomberg Law report published Nov. 16.

The Biden administration is seeking to hire nearly 500 more full-time equivalent workers for OSHA, including 179 new inspectors.

The appropriations bill seeks around $403.8 million for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. That’s less than the Biden administration’s request of $423.5 million, which represented a $40 million increase from FY 2022.

The House bill seeks $363.3 million for NIOSH, an increase of about $11.5 million from FY 2022. The administration wanted a $6.5 million decrease in NIOSH’s budget to $345.3 million from $351.8 million.

On June 21, the House Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee approved a separate funding bill that would allocate $14.4 million to the Chemical Safety Board, a $1 million increase. The administration had asked for $14 million. 

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