Congressional Funding Remains a Hot Issue Four Months into the Fiscal Year

If you’re wondering why we’re four months into the 2018 Federal fiscal year and still without the long-term funding from Congress that State and local governments and businesses rely upon, then you need look no further than healthcare reform, immigration, border security, and disaster relief. These emotionally-charged, highly controversial issues resulted in Members of Congress repeatedly passing a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) to avoid a partial government shutdown and provide themselves with additional time for negotiations.

The current CR expires on January 19, so Members of Congress will need to act quickly, but with little progress made over the holidays, it’s entirely likely that they will need to pass yet another CR. Complicating matters further is the President’s budget request for 2019, which is expected to be released in the early months of 2019. What that means is that because we’re already so far into the current fiscal year, it may be easier for Members of Congress to pass a year-long CR and then start working on appropriations for FY 2019.

A year-long CR may not be bad for worker health and safety programs, since it would likely maintain current funding levels, whereas the “regular” funding bills, if enacted, would likely result in at least some cuts to AIHA’s priority programs. As a reminder, the House-passed bills would cut OSHA by $21.3 million, MSHA by $13.8 million, and NIOSH by $10 million, however the ERCs, Ag Centers, NORA, and Personal Protective Technology programs would all be level-funded. The Senate has different figures – each of these programs would be level-funded under their versions. Any final regular funding bills would likely be a compromise between the House and Senate numbers.​​