New Federal Spending Bill Enacted – Larger Battles Loom on the Horizon

After the flurry of activity expected of any new Congress and presidency, Congress has enacted an omnibus spending bill for the five months remaining in the 2017 Fiscal Year. Overall, the programs and agencies of greatest concern to AIHA (OSHA, MSHA, NIOSH, and the Chemical Safety Board) fared comparatively well. OSHA and the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) were both level-funded, while MSHA was cut by about $2 million, and NIOSH was cut by approximately $4 million, with the Education and Research Centers (ERCs) and Agriculture and Forestry (Ag) Centers each talking a half million dollar hit. All of this can largely be considered a success for AIHA and the broader occupational and environmental health and safety community. However, trouble looms on the horizon.

In the campaign to reduce Federal spending and the size of the government, President Trump and several Congressional leaders have indicated an intense interest in cutting funding for many programs. Details of specific targets will be included in the President’s full budget request to Congress, which is expected to be released on or near May 22, and as Congress proceeds with the annual funding bills.