The House of Representatives Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee has reported out a bill cutting overall OSHA funding from $552.78 million in FY 2018 to $545.25 million for FY 2019, a 1.4% reduction. It’s not yet clear where the cuts come from, although the $10.5 million Susan Harwood Worker Training grants have once again been eliminated from funding in the House bill.
The House total is below Trump’s proposed OSHA budget of $549 million for OSHA. The Administration’s proposal included a small $5.1 million (2.4%) increase over FY 2018 in the enforcement budget, as well as a small $3 million (4.2%) increase in compliance assistance. The President’s budget also, once again, proposed to eliminate the Harwood grants.
The FY 2019 House budget bill is considerably better than last year’s version which proposed to cut the OSHA budget down to only $531.47 million.
The full Appropriations Committee will mark up the bill next week and we should then learn the details of which programs have been cut or increased. We may also start hearing about riders added to the budget attacking specific OSHA initiatives such as its electronic recordkeeping standard.
This exercise is most likely meaningless. Assuming some version of this bill is passed by the House, the Senate mostly likely will pass a bill similar to last year’s which flat-funded OSHA and protected the Susan Harwood program.
But no budget in recent memory has passed both Houses of Congress and been signed by the President by the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1. This being an election year, the odds of that happening are even slimmer. Most likely no budget will be passed until the new Congress takes its seats in January 2019. And then it will hopefully be a whole new world.