On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, the omnibus spending bill that will fund all federal agencies and government programs through September of 2016— and the passage of which prevented a government shutdown. The bill includes a $680 billion tax extenders package and earlier passed on bipartisan votes in the U.S. House of Representatives (316-113) and U.S. Senate (65-33). Many conservative House Republicans voted against the bipartisan "compromise." But, in the end, the vote passed with a "majority of the majority" Republicans voting in favor.
The "compromise" omnibus spending bill achieved several Republican goals by removing the decades-old ban on oil exports and delaying financing of the Affordable Care Act's "Cadillac tax" and "medical device tax" until 2018. The bill also achieved several Democratic goals by rejecting certain policy riders, not defunding Planned Parenthood, not restricting immigration visas of Iranians and Syrians, funding climate control, and avoiding large spending cuts.
U.S. Department of Labor
For labor and employment agencies and programs, the omnibus bill contained the following information regarding the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):
- Overall, it approved $12.2 billion, a $215 million increase over fiscal year (FY) 2015;
- Declined to fund a request for $2.62 million and 15 full time employees to create an Office of Labor Compliance to administer Executive Order 13673 (Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces) by advising government contracting officers and reviewing contractors’ labor and employment violations and labor compliance agreements;
- Approved $552.8 million to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the same as FY2015 and $39.3 million less than requested;
- Approved $227.5 million to the DOL Wage and Hour Division, the same as FY2015 and $49.6 million less than requested (including $31.67 million less than requested to add 300 full time employees for additional enforcement); and
- Appropriated $105.5 million to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which is $1 million less than FY2015 and $7.2 million less than requested.
National Labor Relations Board
For labor and employment agencies and programs, the omnibus bill contained the following information regarding the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):
- It approved $274.2 million, the same as FY2015 and $3.8 million less than requested;
- Failed to enact policy riders on "ambush” elections, the joint employer standard, and micro-bargaining units; and
- Approved a policy rider prohibiting use of "any new administrative directive or regulation" with respect to electronic voting in union representation elections conducted by the NLRB.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
For labor and employment agencies and programs, the omnibus bill contained the following information regarding the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
- It approved $364.5 million, the same as in FY2015 and $8.6 million less than requested.
- The report language prohibits the use of federal funds for "testers" and directs focus on backlog and systemic cases. It also directs the EEOC to engage in good faith consultation.