CSB, Harwood grants back on the chopping block in Trump administration FY 2021 budget proposal
Washington — The Department of Labor’s discretionary funding would be cut 10.5%, while the Chemical Safety Board and OSHA’s Susan Harwood Training Grant Program are facing elimination once again, under President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal.
“A Budget for America’s Future” – released Feb. 10 – allocates $11.1 billion to DOL for FY 2021. In the budget’s “Major Savings and Reforms” supplement, the White House Office of Management and Budget details the proposed eliminations of CSB and the Harwood grants, using virtually the same language as in the Trump administration’s previous budget proposals.
None of this is likely to happen, however, if the past three fiscal years are any indication. Congress instead has chosen to keep the relatively inexpensive CSB and Harwood program each time, and allocated $12.4 billion to DOL in FY 2020 – $1.5 billion more than the administration’s request.
In the supplement, the administration deems CSB’s work “duplicative” and proposes to give the agency $10 million to wind down operations. The agency is receiving $12 million this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, but its five-member board has only one seat filled – by interim Executive Authority Kristen Kulinowski. Rick Engler’s term on the board expired Feb. 5, and Kulinowski’s term is set to end in August. Katherine Lemos was nominated as a CSB board member June 24, but still is awaiting Senate approval.
Congress gave $11.5 million for the Harwood grants in FY 2020 – a $1 million increase – and boosted OSHA’s funding by $24 million to $581.8 million.
Budget proposals for DOL agencies, NIOSH
The administration also released a more detailed DOL budget proposal on the department’s website. OSHA is slated for a cut of more than $4.4 million, including the elimination of the Harwood grants.
In the “Budget in Brief,” $2 million increases for federal enforcement as well as safety and health statistics are proposed. Also, the administration proposes an approximately $1.7 million boost for whistleblower programs and a nearly $1 million increase for federal compliance assistance.
The budget allocates a nearly $1.8 million increase to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Program Evaluation and Information Resources would get around $2.6 million more “to modernize MSHA’s Standard Information System.”
“The agency’s 20-year-old core mission system … has outlived its useful life,” the budget proposal states. “A modernized MSIS will leverage cutting-edge digital and mobile technologies and industry best practices to provide improved customer response and security posture in addition to reduced program and infrastructure maintenance costs.”
The budget proposal requests a more than $1.9 million cut to mine safety and health enforcement. The agency combined coal and metal/nonmetal enforcement into one entity in its FY 2020 budget.
The administration’s proposed budget for Health and Human Services shows a $153 million cut for NIOSH from its $343 million budget in FY 2020. Congress gave the agency an $8 million increase for this fiscal year.
Each legislative branch will begin its deliberation over the budget in the coming months, with a deadline of Oct. 1. If this deadline passes without a resolution, Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.