Will OSHA's budget be slashed by 50 percent? That's what the Senate Budget Committee recommends for the agency's fiscal year 1996 funding. But it's only a suggestion, and such drastic action is unlikely. Budget subcommittees in the House and Senate will decide OSHA's final budget this summer. A source in the Senate calls a 50 percent cut "hard to imagine," saying it would probably eliminate the agency. In the House, a source predicts up to a 10 percent cut. OSHA is asking for an 11 percent increase-from $312.5 million to $346.5 million.
Opponents of an ergonomics standard flex some muscle by getting Congress to prohibit OSHA from issuing an ergonomics rule in fiscal year 1995. The order, written into the budget rescissions bill passed May 16, does not affect OSHA funding, nor does it obstruct the agency from continuing research and development on the standard. The chance that OSHA would have issued an ergonomics standard during 1995 was so small that an OSHA spokeswoman says the prohibition is "not a big deal."