The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018” (H.R. 3554) scheduled for floor consideration today. This omnibus bill reflects a misguided and dangerous approach to funding programs that serve millions of working Americans.
H.R. 3554 fails to meet our country’s needs and breaks promises to workers, women, children and seniors at a time of great uncertainty when so many of these Americans are vulnerable. Non-defense discretionary spending in this bill is severely underfunded—$8 billion below FY 2017 spending levels—with the Labor, HHS & Education Department appropriation taking the biggest hit to the tune of $5 billion. In particular, the bill cuts $85.7 million from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I state grants and $16 million from Job Corps programs. It completely eliminates Title III Employment Services grants, and cuts the Senior Community Service Employment Program grants by $100 million.
The bill also cuts funding for DOL’s Wage and Hour Division by $10 million, reduces the current funding for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by $25 million, and eliminates the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title II funding. The bill cuts DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) funding by almost $60 million. To the detriment of worker health and safety, the bill slashes funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by $21 million and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) by $14 million while cutting funding for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health by $10 million.
The AFL-CIO also opposes many policy riders included in H.R. 3554 and the several hundred amendments ruled in order that serve to limit the authority of agencies and that pose harm to workers, health, safety, immigrants, civil rights, and retirement security. Some of the most egregious amendments we oppose are:
- Division F Amendment # 152 (Grothman) which reduces NLRB funding by $99 million.
- Division F Amendment # 110 (Walberg and Perry), which prohibits the use of funds to implement the NLRB’s Election Rule.
- Division F Amendment # 44 (Huzienga and Kelly) which prohibits the use of funds to implement regulations relating to occupational exposure to crystalline silica.
- Division F Amendment # 7 (King and Gaetz) which prohibits the use of funds to implement, administer, or enforce the Davis-Bacon Act.
- Division F Amendment # 10 (Gibbs) which prohibits the use of funds to implement, administer, or enforce the final regulations on workplace injury and illness tracking.
- Division F Amendment # 67 (Gaetz) which prohibits the use of funds to implement, administer, or enforce any project labor agreement.
- Division F Amendment # 175 (Rooney) which prohibits the use of funds to implement or enforce Executive Order 13502, pertaining to the use of Project Labor Agreements for federal construction projects.
Last, we further question the timing of this vote. Yesterday, Congressional leadership and the President agreed to a funding package that includes Hurricane Harvey assistance, a debt limit extension and a continuing resolution to keep government running at current funding levels until mid-December. Now is the time for Congress to be focusing on a bipartisan budget solution that eliminates sequestration and makes investments in labor, health, human services, education, housing, transportation and other public services.
Thank you for your consideration of these views.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department