Congress has just started down the long and winding road to fiscal year 2004 federal department budgets. In late April, Labor Secretary Chao testified in Congressional hearings on the Labor budget for FY04. President Bush has recommended that OSHA receive $450 million, compared to $453 million this year.

OSHA's budget hit is slight compared to what's been proposed for NIOSH. This year NIOSH received $275 million, but the President has proposed slashing funding to $246 million. The American Industrial Hygiene Association submitted letters to the entire Appropriations Committee in the House recommending that NIOSH be saved from the axe. AIHA suggested providing NIOSH with level funding, plus inflation, and an additional $15 million to be earmarked for emergency preparedness and response issues.