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President Trump Proposes to Consolidate NIOSH Activities, Research within NIH
President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, released on Feb. 12, seeks to consolidate NIOSH’s activities and research, including the Energy Employee Occupational Injury Compensation Act program, within the National Institutes of Health. The proposal explains that NIOSH, which is currently part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would initially be established as a new NIH institute, but could eventually become more fully integrated into existing NIH institutes and centers. It would fall to NIH to assess the feasibility of such integration. The budget proposal also seeks to cut NIOSH’s budget by $135 million, eliminate the agency’s Education and Research Centers, and stop direct federal funding to support academic salaries, stipends, and tuition and fee reimbursements for occupational health professionals at universities. The World Trade Center Health Program, currently administered by NIOSH, would be administered by CDC under this plan. NIOSH’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program provides benefits to employees or their survivors of the Department of Energy and its contractors who became ill as a result of exposure to radiation or other toxic substances.
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In addition to NIOSH’s ERCs, the president’s budget would eliminate the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and OSHA’s Susan Harwood training grants. CSB, which investigates industrial chemical accidents and makes recommendations for improving the safety of plants, workers, and communities, is proposed for elimination “due to the relative duplicative nature of its work.” CSB has issued its own budget proposal, requesting $12.1 million in fiscal year 2019. The agency’s budget justification details its accomplishments related to chemical incident investigations, recommendations to reduce future safety risks and hazards, and safety outreach and collaboration. “Through its independent investigations, the CSB plays a unique role in fostering collaboration with industry, regulators, standards-setting bodies and professional organizations, thus emphasizing the CSB’s vital role in driving critical chemical safety change in the United States,” CSB’s budget document reads. The president’s budget proposal calls OSHA’s training grants “unnecessary and unproven,” stating that the agency has no evidence that the program is effective. OSHA’s training grants provide education for workers and employers on workplace safety and health hazards, responsibilities, and rights. The grants target underserved, low-literacy, and high-hazard industry workers. The Trump administration’s proposal requests a $2.6 billion or 21 percent budget decrease from the 2017 enacted level for the Department of Labor. DOL’s “budget in brief” document provides level funding for OSHA in FY 2019, plus an additional 71 full-time equivalent workers. The department seeks a budget increase of $4.6 million for MSHA, plus 12 new FTEs.  Under the president’s proposal, CDC would receive $5.7 billion for fiscal year 2019, down from the $7 billion appropriated to the agency for fiscal year 2018. The president’s budget would provide CDC with $175 million to expand its support to state health departments through the Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention program. A PDF of CSB’s budget justification document can be found on the agency website. Highlights of the president’s proposed budget for CDC are available from an overview document (PDF). Detailed budget documentation from DOL is available on the department’s website. The president’s budget proposal, including an explanation of “major savings and reforms,” is posted on the White House website.
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NEWSWATCH
COMMUNITY
the Synergist
DEPARTMENTS
In addition to NIOSH’s ERCs, the president’s budget would eliminate the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and OSHA’s Susan Harwood training grants.