OSHA budget: Talk to your Representatives while they’re home
A Confined Space blog post
Funding for the Federal Government runs out on April 28. This means that before that date, if we are to avoid a government shutdown, the Senate and the House of Representatives will have to pass — and the President will have to sign — a new bill funding the government through the rest of Fiscal Year 2017. FY 17 ends on September 30. So far, for FY 17, the government has been running on a Continuing Resolution (CR) — agencies are pretty much working off of the same budget that they had last year.
We previously discussed the President’s “Skinny Budget” proposal for FY 2018, which begins on October 1. But there are a number of important OSHA programs that are at risk right now, through the rest of FY 17, and only you can save these programs. The good news is that Congress is heading out of town next week for their two-week State Work Periods. That means they want to hear from you, their constituents, about what you think is important. If they are brave enough, they will even hold public meetings. There are obviously a lot of important issues that Congress is dealing with right now (the fate of our democracy, the fate of the earth, etc.) — all the more reason why the voices defending worker safety need to be heard loud and clear. Congress must act on the FY 17 budget as soon as they get back, so the next two weeks are critical.
What are the issues and what are the messages?
It’s hard to tell what they are thinking on the Hill right now. They have to move fast on the FY 17 budget when they come back or risk a government shut down and the Republicans can’t pass a budget without some Democratic support.
The White House has requested a $18 billion cut in the FY 17 budget to pay for building THE WALL and increase defense spending. Democrats have lined up pretty solidly against funding THE WALL using 2017 money, but there are some strongly pro-defense spending Democrats.
It’s quite possible that there will be a proposal for an “across-the-board” cut in the budget — for example a percent cut on every budget item to pay for THE WALL or defense. In terms of specific cuts, the only thing we have to go on are the FY17 proposals put forth by the Republican-controlled Senate and House Appropriations Committees last year and proposals from the Trump administration. Needless to say, they are not good.
OSHA: Lowlights in the House include complete elimination of the Harwood Grant program and a 7 percent ($15 million) cut in enforcement. The Senate, on the other hand, leaves Harwood and enforcement alone, but cuts 10 percent ($2 million) out of standards. Compliance assistance, on the other hand, receives a significant increase in both budgets.
MSHA: Both House and Senate chopped...Click here to read the rest of the blog post.