With $4.6 trillion in cuts proposed over the next decade, it’s difficult to predict what effect Rep. Paul Ryan’s ambitious GOP budget plan would have on specific programs and agencies, such as OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
With the much anticipated sequestration deadline finally here, OSHA plans to freeze hiring and bonuses – moves that will enable the agency to avoid furloughing employees despite the looming budget cuts. That contradicts a Feb. 8 White House prediction that sequestration would force OSHA to take some of its inspectors off the job, at least for a period of time.
If OSHA’s fiscal year 2013 budget ever gets formal approval by Congress, part of the budget plan calls for cost-savings by consolidating three of the agency’s ten regional offices. States the FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification for OSHA: “In an effort to streamline agency operations, OSHA is reorganizing its regional structure and jurisdictional authority from its current operation of 10 Regional Offices (ROs) to seven.
Washington and financial powers that be are abuzz with daily updates as to whether the U.S. government will actually plunge at year’s end from the so-called “financial cliff” brought on by piling federal debt. There is even talk of Congress returning to DC between Christmas and New Year’s to try to work out a deal.
OSHA watcher in Washington lament the loss of one of the very few members of Congress with a serious interest in the agency – Lynn Woolsey, (D-Calif.), the ranking minority member of the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Workforce Protection.
This problem is called “Sequestration”! If you recall, Congress failed to come up with adequate spending cuts following enactment of the Budget Control Act. This law stated that if Congress failed to cut spending by about $1.4 trillion, then automatic spending cuts would take effect on January 1, 2013.
Mark Vinter, senior economist for Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Economics Group, started his presentation at the IGA meeting with this premise: “We are more than two years into the economic recovery and there is still considerable amount of uncertainty regarding sovereign debt issues in Europe and the U.S. housing sector.
Preserving worker protection programs despite challenging economic times is crucial, according to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who testified this week before Congress about her department's 2013 budget request.