Labor's FY2008 Appropriation Bill Up for Grabs

President Bush's threat to veto several of the FY2008 federal government appropriations bills apparently will be tested by what is usually the most contentious and largest funding bill every fall: the Labor, HHS, and Education appropriation. Last night the U.S. Senate voted 47-46 to strip from that bill, H.R. 3043, a $64.7 billion defense appropriation that had been added in conference to ensure Bush would not veto the overall bill. Now, the $151 billion Labor/HHS/Education bill must stand or fall on its own.

OSHA is in line for $500,568,000 from the bill, a 13.6 percent increase from FY2007, with $91 million of that designated for grants to state plans. It contains the usual $10.1 million for Susan Harwood training grants, which Congress has funded despite recommendations from Bush that they be eliminated. The bill directs Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to send a report to both congressional appropriations committees stating when OSHA standards on beryllium, silica, cranes and derricks, confined space entry in construction, and Hazard Communication global harmonization will be enacted.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration would get $339,893,000 in FY2008 funding (up 12.6 percent from FY2007), including up to $2 million for mine rescue and recovery activities, as well as $2.2 million for an award to the United Mine Workers of America for classroom and simulated rescue training for mine rescue teams. The Bureau of Labor Statistics would get $488,804,000, and NIOSH would get $334.8 million (up 19.7 percent from FY2007).

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