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Senate panel approves funding cuts for workplace health and safety

August 14, 2006
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The Senate Appropriations Committee in late July approved most of the Bush administration's budget proposals that would freeze or eliminate funding for several health, education and worker safety programs. The cuts prompted a top Republican lawmaker to question whether the government really is committed to the welfare of America's workers, according to the AFL-CIO.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, says the proposed cuts, approved unanimously by the committee, "constitute what I view as the disintegration of the appropriate federal role in health, education and worker safety."

Specter says he is concerned the legislation includes only $800 million in fiscal year 2007 for adult training programs authorized under the Workforce Investment Act, some $64.2 million less than this fiscal year, although it is $88 million more than the Bush administration requested.

Since he took office, President Bush has cut inflation-adjusted investment in training and assistance programs to help unemployed and underemployed workers by 31.3 percent, including cuts in programs for adults and dislocated workers and youth as well as the Employment Service, says the AFL-CIO.

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