Harkin: Automatic budget cuts would lead to more workplace injuries, deaths

Washington – If Congress fails to enact a plan to reduce the national debt, automatic across-the-board budget cuts would lead to more workplace deaths and injuries, warns a new report from a senior Senate Democrat.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs an Appropriations subcommittee, released a report (.pdf file) July 25 stating that if no agreement is reached by the end of the calendar year, budgets would be cut for OSHA by at least $44 million and for the Mine Safety and Health Administration by at least $29 million.

The threat of automatic budget cuts, also known as sequestration, came about under a budgetary agreement between the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate late last year.

In other budgetary news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on July 31 agreed on a deal to fund the government beyond the end of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

The deal does not resolve the separate sequestration issue but merely avoids a possible government shutdown. As part of the deal, government agencies and departments will be funded at their current levels for the first six months of FY 2013.

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