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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Policy Watch: Cuts to DOL budget, attacks on joint employer standard [feedly]

Policy Watch: Cuts to DOL budget, attacks on joint employer standard

Congress returned from the July 4th recess this week, and Senate Republicans debuted yet another proposal in the ongoing attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The latest proposal still includes the severe cuts to Medicaid found in earlier drafts, so millions of Americans will lose health care coverage if this week's version of the Republican plan becomes law. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee released a fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) funding bill that would cut funding for the Department of Labor (DOL) by $1.3 billion. This measure also includes several non-funding-related requirements (often called "riders") that would block or weaken labor protections. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearingattacking the concept of joint employer liability under various worker protection laws. And, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a consolidated hearing on President Trump's nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and to DOL.

Draining worker protection and training resources from the FY18 DOL and NLRB budgets

The LHHS funding bill from Appropriations Subcommittee Republicans would further reduce funding for agencies that are already stretched thin. Occupational Safety and Health Administration funding would be nearly $12 million less than even President Trump's draconian budget request earlier this year (and about 4 percent less than the current budget). The Wage and Hour Division would face a roughly 6 percent cut. In other areas, the bill takes a hatchet to job training programs and other services, particularly the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs at the Employment and Training Administration. There's also a whopping 9 percent cut ($25 million) to the National Labor Relations Board. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, crucial for providing much-needed data on the workforce, would suffer a 5 percent cut.

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