DOL Appropriations Focuses on Enforcement

JUNE 19, 2017

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta appeared before the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Sciences, Education, and Related Agencies last week to make his case for the Department’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations that begin this October 1.

The Labor Department is seeking $9.7 billion for FY 2018, which represents a nearly 20 percent reduction from FY 2017 appropriation levels.

However, within that request, the Trump administration wants to add $16 million more for DOL enforcement.

For OSHA, Secretary Acosta said the administration is asking for approximately $540 million, which is about two percent less than this year’s appropriations.

In a notable change from the Obama administration, the Labor Department is requesting over $72 million for compliance assistance programs aimed at helping employers. DOL will seek to work collaboratively with employers to assist with their compliance efforts instead of punishing employers.

Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) was in favor of the change of direction and noted, “It’s been difficult to ignore the previous administration’s adversarial and punitive pursuit of labor enforcement.”

Additionally, several members from both sides of the aisle pressed Secretary Acosta during the hearing regarding his intentions concerning several Obama-era regulations such as the electronic injury and illness reporting rule. He said that any regulation change would be in compliance with the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, adding further “you need to have a new rule to change the old rule.”