This problem is called “Sequestration”! If you recall, Congress failed to come up with adequate spending cuts following enactment of the Budget Control Act. This law stated that if Congress failed to cut spending by about $1.4 trillion, then automatic spending cuts would take effect on January 1, 2013. While I can’t imagine Congress allowing this to happen, here is what these cuts would mean –
OSHA – The $565 million budget for OSHA would face an automatic cut of approximately $44 million. To give you an idea of what that would mean – that $44 million is more than twice the entire budget for standard-setting. OSHA would also have to cut 81 full-time employees.
MSHA – The MSHA budget of $373 million would be cut by $29 million.
NIOSH – While one would hope that NIOSH would only face cuts in the neighborhood of around 8 percent like the others, there is no way to know whether or not CDC would decide to take more money from NIOSH to keep CDC fully-funded.
In other words, this sequestration would be a disaster for occupational safety and health, let alone the rest of the federal government. Congress must address this issue either before the November election or immediately following the election. Insiders claim no one wants to address the issue until after the election when we know who will be in charge in January.
And let’s not forget – the Administration has ordered all executive branch departments and agencies except the Pentagon to cut their budget requests for fiscal year 2014 by 5 percent below the level proposed in the 2013 budget. This is going to get interesting.
Excerpted from Aaron’s “Happenings from the Hill” 9.5.12.