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Big Appropriations Bill Passed

The combined funding bills passed the U.S. Senate on Sunday and await President Obama's signature. OSHA would get a $45 million boost from its FY2009 funding and MSHA a 3.1 percent increase.

The U.S. Senate has passed a $446.8 billion package of six federal FY2010 appropriations bills, including the bill that funds the Labor, HHS, and Education departments, meaning the measure faces a final Senate vote on Sunday. With the fiscal year having begun Oct. 1, 2009, the committees combined the spending bills to get them passed.

If the bill is signed into law as expected, OSHA would get about $558 million, a $45 million boost from its FY2009 funding level, while MSHA would get about $357 million, a 3.1 percent increase from FY2009. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's discretionary budget would be funded at about $6.8 billion, a $128 million increase.

The Labor Department's FY2010 funding would include $1.6 billion to support more than 600 new full-time enforcement and compliance personnel for OSHA, MSHA, the Employment Benefits Security Administration, and the Employment Standards Administration. The Wage and Hours Division's chief said Tuesday that her division has hired 250 new inspectors recently.

Key numbers in the Labor-HHS bill include $31 billion for the National Institutes of Health ($692 million above FY2009), $2.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ($18.5 million above FY2009), and $190 million for programs to address health care-associated infections ($28 million above FY2009). Of the $190 million, $15 million would go to expand CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network to increase surveillance of health care-associated infections at hospitals, according to the summary posted by the House and Senate appropriations committees.

CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would get $347 million ($54 million above FY2009) for inspecting nursing homes and other medical facilities where health care-associated infections are increasing, the document states.

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