Federal agencies

Senate bill would leave safety agencies’ budgets virtually flat

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Washington — A Senate committee has approved a bill that would keep worker safety agency budgets virtually unchanged in fiscal year 2024 – a contrast from a House bill put forth two weeks earlier.

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill would allocate $628.5 million for OSHA – a decrease of around $3.8 million, or 0.6%, from FY 2023. The majority of that proposed cut is to the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, which would receive $10 million instead of approximately $12.8 million.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill with a 26-2 vote on July 27.

The House, meanwhile, has proposed a 15.1% budget cut for OSHA, allocating $536.9 million for FY 2024, which begins Oct. 1. In its annual budget proposal released March 9, the Biden administration is seeking $738.7 million for OSHA – an increase of around 17%, or more than $106.3 million, from FY 2023.

A House appropriations subcommittee approved the bill in a voice vote on July 14.

The Senate bill would give the Mine Safety and Health Administration ($387.8 million) and NIOSH ($362.8 million) the same funding to as in FY 2023. The White House is seeking $438.1 million for MSHA and the same $362.8 million for NIOSH.

The House bill allocates around $325 million for MSHA – a 16.2% cut – and $247.7 million for NIOSH, a nearly 32% cut.

With the two bills differing by a wide margin – as expected – both chambers will likely need to reconcile those differences via conference committee, or Congress may resort to a series of continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown.

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