The House Appropriations Committee has released its draft fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill, which includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and other related agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board. The bill, which would make substantial funding cuts at the DOL and NLRB, has moved to subcommittees for further consideration.
The draft legislation includes $156 billion in discretionary funding—a $5 billion reduction below the FY 2017 enacted level, according to a Committee release. The bill is said to cut funding to lower-priority programs, while targeting investments in medical research, public health, biodefense, and important activities that help boost job growth. The bill also contains several provisions to rein in what the Appropriations Committee considers unnecessary regulations, and to “protect the sanctity of life.”
Labor Department funding. The bill would give the DOL $10.8 billion in discretionary appropriations, $1.3 billion below the FY 2017 enacted level. The measure would provide “robust funding” for job training programs and “sufficient funding” for labor enforcement and benefit protection agencies to fulfill their core missions, according to the Committee, while reducing lower-priority and underperforming programs:
- The Employment Training Administration would get $8.5 billion, a decrease of $1.5 billion below last year’s enacted level and $848 million above the budget request. Included is $2.6 billion for job training grants, $84.5 million for YouthBuild, and $790 million in mandatory appropriations for Federal Unemployment Benefits and Allowances, which provides job training programs for workers who lose their jobs as a result of international trade.
- The Job Corps would receive $1.69 billion, a decrease of $16 million over the 2017-enacted level and $239.7 million above the budget request. Funding is included in addition to amounts provided in FY 2017 for physical facility safety and security improvements.
- The Veterans Employment and Training Service would get $284 million—$5 million above the FY 2017 level, with a $2.5 million increase to expand the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration would be funded at $360 million, $14 million below the FY 2017-enacted level. The funding level reflects the declining need for MSHA inspection activities due to the lower levels of mining across the country, especially in coal production.
Regulatory provisions. The draft appropriations bill would include several provisions that the Committee says are designed to help U.S. businesses create jobs and grow the economy by reducing or eliminating what it considers overly burdensome government regulations. These provisions include:
- A bar on enforcement of the “Fiduciary” rule;
- A continuation of provisions providing flexibility in the H-2B program, reducing regulatory requirements, and ensuring that employers that comply with program requirements have access to the temporary, seasonal workers;
- The continuation of a provision exempting insurance claims adjusters from FLSA overtime requirements in areas that have been hit by a major disaster.
National Labor Relations Board. The draft spending bill would give the NLRB $249 million — a $25 million decrease from last year’s enacted level. The bill also includes a provision that would bar the NLRB from applying its revised “joint-employer” standard in new cases and proceedings. It would also prevent the Board form exercising jurisdiction over Tribal governments.
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