Solis testifies on FY 2012 budget request

Washington – The funding requested in the Department of Labor’s budget for fiscal year 2012 is necessary to keep workers safe, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis testified March 16 before House members.

DOL requested a FY 2012 budget of $583.4 million, which would go toward the hiring of new inspectors, the development of the injury and illness prevention program standard, and efforts to reduce a backlog of whistleblower claims, Solis told the Appropriation Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

“Workers should be safe in their jobs and we need to ensure that our worker protection efforts keep up with the changing economy,” she said in her prepared testimony (.pdf file).

FY 2012 does not begin until Oct. 1, 2011, and Congress is debating funding for the current fiscal year. Having failed to reach an agreement when FY 2011 began last October, Congress has resorted to issuing short-term stop-gap budgets, which has kept OSHA’s budget at FY 2010 levels. A Republican-backed proposal would cut OSHA’s budget by $99 million, returning the agency to 2004 budget levels. Subcommittee ranking member Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) suggested this plan would not ensure workplaces are kept safe.

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