The Budget Drama
When I drafted this article in mid-Febru-ary, we were nearly six months into the
federal 2011 fiscal year with no budget.
By late February Congress had passed a
fifth continuing resolution, which was
scheduled to expire on March 18. The
House of Representatives resolved to cut
at least $61 billion from spending the
rest of this year; the Senate and the
President said it wouldn’t happen. The
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10 The Synergist ; April 2011
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President submitted a 2012 proposed fiscal year budget that everyone said was
dead on arrival. As this issue of The Synergist went to press, the threat of a government shutdown loomed. You don’t
even want to know the impact a shutdown might have on the country.
There’s no sense going into particulars of
the various budget proposals because the
figures have changed repeatedly. Assuming that Congress and the President work
things out for the remainder of 2011,
let’s compare the proposed 2012 budget
to 2010 (which is the current spending
level in the continuing resolution):
• OSHA: $583 million, a $25 million
• MSHA: $384 million, a $27 million
• NIOSH: $315 million, a $115 million
• EPA: $9 billion, a $1.5 billion cut
Many in the House on both sides of
the aisle have stated they will not accept
this budget, and it looks as though many
in the Senate (again, on both sides of the
aisle) also have concerns.
With debate over spending likely to continue for some time, let’s take a quick
look at other activity being undertaken
at OSHA and AIHA:
Diacetyl. OSHA revised its national emphasis program on worker exposure to
this chemical. OSHA has also issued a
worker alert recommending engineering
and work practice controls.
Injury and Illness Prevention Program
(I2P2) Rule. OSHA continues to state
this is its number one priority. There has
been no word on when a proposal might
be forthcoming. The House might consider holding a hearing on this issue.
Silica. OSHA sent a proposed rule on silica to the Office of Management and
Budget for review. Plans are to publish
the rule in April. Industry says a small
business review is necessary.
NIOSH/GAO Study. AIHA and ASSE
sent a joint letter to Congress requesting
a Government Accountability Office
(GAO) study on the pros and cons of
whether NIOSH should remain within the
organizational structure of the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention.
VPP. The President’s proposed budget for
2012 includes funding for OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program. This is a
complete shift from last year when the
President and OSHA were recommending
to cut all funding for VPP and the program become self-supporting.
NIOSH cuts. With the 2012 budget proposal to cut all funding to the NIOSH
Education and Research Centers, AIHA
sent out a membership alert asking
members to contact Congress and request this funding be continued. (See related article on p. 12.)
Aaron Trippler directs government affairs for more
aison with Congress and federal agencies. He can