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OSHA budget battle looms large (2/16)

February 16, 2011
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Republicans' plans to cut OSHA's budget by $100 million or 17 percent in 2011 prompted a statement from one of the “wise men” of OSHA affairs, Frank White, Global Director, Mercer ORC HSE Networks, and a former agency top official:

"We're really in fairly uncharted budget waters with these latest wildly disparate proposals for OSHA from the administration and the new House. On the one hand, it's hard to see Congress adding money to OSHA's regulatory and enforcement budgets in this climate, especially since the agency has fared pretty well in the past couple years. On the other hand, a nearly $100 million decrease for the remainder of FY 2011 would seem to verge on the draconian for an agency that has been chronically underfunded over the long haul - that would cut close to the bone. It's difficult to tell where the balance lies, but it's hard to envisage OSHA escaping significant cuts in both 2011 and 2012.

"It's worth noting the sharp contrast between the administration's proposed decrease in EPA's budget and its support for an increase for OSHA - how willing it and the democratic Senate are to fight for OSHA may be a key to the final outcome."

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