AIHA's Director of Government Affairs Reacts to Draft FY 2016 Funding Bill

Posted June 24, 2015

Aaron Trippler, AIHA’s director of government affairs, discusses the budget outlook for occupational health and safety agencies following last week’s release of the House Appropriations Committee’s draft fiscal year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill:

“The House proposal is to cut OSHA’s budget by 3.2 percent, down to $535 million, whereas the president had proposed an increase in the OSHA budget, from the current $553 million to $592 million. To show you how the House feels about OSHA, many of the other agencies within the Labor Department are level funded or have slight increases. There are currently no details as to where the cuts would be made, but the draft bill specifies that the State Plans would receive $103 million, which is close to the president’s recommended $104.3 million.

“Beyond OSHA, the proposed budgets for other workplace safety and health agencies are a mixed bag. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) would receive $371 million under the draft bill’s allocation, down 1.3 percent from $375.9 million in 2015. The White House is asking for $394.9 million for MSHA in 2016.

“One bit of good news that goes to show that we may be succeeding in educating Congress a bit is that the draft appropriations bill calls for NIOSH to receive $341 million, up 1.8 percent from $334.9 million in 2015. The House proposal is $58 million more than the White House is seeking. While the subcommittee proposal doesn't detail how the NIOSH money would be spent, the allocation should be enough to fund the agency's Education and Research Centers and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program, two projects that the White House has sought to cut for several years that have ended up funded by Congress.

“All in all, success with NIOSH and cuts for OSHA and MSHA. I believe that it’s going to be a tough road ahead for OSHA in the next few years, no matter who wins the White House.”