With what has now become a regular ritual, lawmakers rushed to pass a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill on the last possible day to avoid a government shutdown. The 2,300-page bill was passed by the House last Thursday by a vote 256-167 with many Democrats joining Republicans to support the bill. The Senate then passed the bill 65-32 on Friday, March 23, the final day before their current spending authority expired. Despite a veto threat, President Trump signed the bill later that day averting a potential government shutdown and funding the government through September 30, 2018.
Although the administration had initially proposed to cut funding across the board, the final package primarily preserved spending levels along with significant increases in military and domestic spending. The omnibus spending bill in total funds $12.2 billion for the U.S. Department of Labor which represents a $192 million increase from FY 2017. For OSHA, the FY 2018 spending bill provides an increase of $9.5 million over the administration’s funding request for a total of $553 million.
Among other things, the spending bill provides $208 million for federal enforcement, $100.85 million to state OSHA programs, $17.5 million for whistleblower enforcement, $499,000 for training and education, $3.5 million for the Voluntary Protection Programs and $10.5 million for Susan Harwood training grants. Despite the administration’s initial proposal to cut NIOSH funding by 40%, the spending bill allocated $335.2 million in funding.
Notably, the final bill drops several OSHA-related policy riders to ensure that it got enough votes from Democrats to pass. This included dropping stand-alone appropriations legislation Republicans considered in 2017 that would have prohibited the implementation or enforcement of OSHA’s 2016 injury reporting update rule and a measure to block enforcement of OSHA’s silica standard.