The House Appropriations Committee has approved by a vote of 31-21 its fiscal year 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill, which funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and other related agencies, including the EEOC, which would get $363,807,000—about the same amount as its FY 2017 level—under the measure. The bill would also bar the EEOC from using any funding to implement its new EEO-1 Report.
The spending bill includes $54 billion in total discretionary funding—a decrease of $2.6 billion below FY 2017 and $4 billion above President Trump’s request for these programs, according to the Committee’s press release. The bill is said to target funding increases for national security, including cybercrime, counter-terrorism, and espionage. Increases are also provided for federal law enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration, and combat violent crime, gangs, and opioid trafficking. Funding is also allocated to help boost trade enforcement, continue space exploration program investments, and advance groundbreaking science and technologies essential for innovation, productivity, and economic growth. Lower-priority programs are reduced or eliminated to make way for these investments.
EEOC funding. The appropriations bill gives $363,807,000 to the EEOC, basically flat funding, although $693,000 below FY 2017. It is the same amount requested by President Trump. The funding includes $29,500,000 for payments to state and local enforcement agencies.
De-emphasize systemic changes. In its report, the Appropriations Committee said that it expects the EEOC “to prioritize inventory reduction rather than allocate resources for systematic changes in which no complaint was filed by an actual/ former employee or applicant.” The Committee also expressed concern about the EEOC’s “pursuit of litigation absent good faith conciliation efforts,” saying that it “directs the EEOC to engage in such efforts before undertaking litigation.”
The spending bill includes an amendment adopted on July 13, which would prohibit funding from being used “to implement a new EEOC requirement making businesses report certain demographic information of employees,” as the Committee describes it. A careful read of the adopted amendments reveals that this refers to the controversial expanded EEO-1 Report, published in the Federal Register February 1, 2016, which includes submission of employee pay data. The amendment, offered by Andy Harris (R-Md.), was adopted by a 29-20 vote.
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