The Senate approved an omnibus appropriations bill Dec. 18, which now goes to the House for approval, and then on to President Bush. If approved, the federal budget for FY2008, which began this past October 1, will include about $1 million less for OSHA than it received in FY2007, according to AIHA’s Aaron K. Trippler, Director, Government Affairs.
Trippler said he believes both the House and the President will sign off on the bill.
For 2007, OSHA received a total of $487 million. For 2008, “We were hoping the original figures from the Senate ($498 million) or the House ($503 million) would be the figures they worked from,” wrote Trippler. “We thought we had that with an appropriations bill that included $500.5 million. However, that bill is the one the President vetoed.”
According to Trippler, whose office monitors safety legislation and rulemaking, OSHA will now receive about $486 for 2008, which includes $10 million for the Susan Harwood training grants.
Also included in the OSHA section of the budget, according to Trippler, is the requirement that OSHA report to Congress with timetables for standards development on beryllium, silica, cranes and derricks, confined space in construction, and hazard communication global harmonization.
Trippler added that the bill looks as if it will remove the ban on OSHA to enforce respirator annual fit-testing for TB. AIHA and others pushed hard to see that this ban was not included in the final bill.
MSHA “came out the big winner,” Trippler wrote, as the bill provides for roughly $334 million in FY2008, a significant increase over the $301.6 million that agency received in 2007.
NIOSH’s budget amount is unclear, according to Trippler, as it is not shown on the bill as a specific line item. However, for 2007 NIOSH’s budget included dollars specifically appropriated for NIOSH’s NORA (National Occupational Research Agenda) project. The current bill includes a specific line item for the NORA project of nearly $7 million more for 2008 than it received in 2007.
“Again, with Congress rushing to finalize their work on this first session of the 110th Congress, I believe these figures will be the final figures,” Trippler wrote.