American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Government Affairs Director Aaron K. Trippler explains what the figures just released by the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor subcommittee mean to occupational safety and health agencies, going forward:
“Here we go – and just what I figured,” says Trippler.
“OSHA. I had mentioned that the President proposed an increase in the OSHA budget from the current $553 million to $592 million. I also said that this budget was dead on arrival on Capitol Hill. Well, the House proposal is to CUT the OSHA budget by 3.2 percent down to $535 million. To show you how the House feels about OSHA, many of the other agencies within Labor are level funded or actually have slight increases. No details on where the cuts would come, other than specifying that the State Plans would receive $103 million, about what the President had recommended - $104.3. Don’t get too worked up though as this is but the next step in the budget battle.
“MSHA. Beyond OSHA, the budgets for other workplace safety and health agencies are a mixed bag of proposals. The Mine Safety and Health Administration would receive $371 million under the draft bill's allocation, down 1.3 percent from $375.9 million in 2015. The White House is asking for $394.9 million for 2016.
“NIOSH. One bit of good news that goes to show we may be succeeding in educating Congress a bit. The draft appropriations bill calls for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to receive $341 million, up 1.8 percent from $334.9 million in 2015. The proposal is $58 million more than the White House is seeking . While the subcommittee proposal doesn't detail how the NIOSH money would be spent, the allocation should be enough to fund the agency's Education and Research Centers and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program, projects the White House has sought to cut for several years and each year were funded by Congress.
“All in all, definitely a mixed bag. Success with NIOSH and cuts for OSHA and MSHA. I believe this goes back to my thinking that it is going to be a tough road ahead for OSHA in the next few years, no matter who wins the White House.
“Just keeping you updated.”