We’re almost halfway through Fiscal Year 2024 we’re finally seeing what OSHA and the rest of the Department of Labor’s worker protection agency budgets will be.

The Labor-HHS FY 2024 appropriations bill was released this morning. Bottom line: it’s a flat budget for all of the worker protection agencies, which means a cut after factoring in inflation and a 5.2% federal pay raise.budget

This is bad, but certainly not as bad as it could have been. Last July, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives proposed, but never passed, an appropriations bill that would have cut OSHA’s current funding by 15%. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was facing a 29% cut, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) would have been slashed by 30%. For good measure, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which fights child labor and other worker abuses, would have faced a 30% cut.

The Democratically-controlled Senate bill was better but not great, proposing a small $3.8 million cut to OSHA’s already tiny budget. The Senate also proposed flat funding for MSHA, NIOSH and and a slight increase in the Wage and Hour budget.

The final bill contains none of the crazy language that Republican House members proposed, such as language cutting the salaries of OSHA and MSHA heads to $1 a year.

Given the Republican’s original proposal, as well as the budget agreement reached by President Biden and former Speaker McCarthy last year, this is probably the best we could have expected.  Clearly the Biden administration (and the Senate) held firm in opposing any cuts to the worker protection agencies.

The only question now is whether Congress will be able to pass the budget before the Friday night deadline. The House still has work to do, and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is vowing to hold things up in the Senate in a vain effort to get more budget cuts.  (Paul voted for the 2018 Trump tax cuts which added $2.5 trillion to the deficit.)

If the bill is not signed by the President by midnight Friday night, the government will shut down — at least for a few days — until both Houses pass the bill and President Biden signs it.

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