During a hearing before a Senate subcommittee, Secretary Alexander Acosta argued for increased funding for the Department of Labor because, among other things, “laws matter” and the department needs additional inspectors, especially for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


Labor Secretary Acosta

In seeking his request, Acosta told the Senators that “laws matter. They have been passed by Congress. They are the laws of the land, and they need to be enforced. The men and women at the Department of Labor need the resources to enforce them.”

Among those resources are 42 new inspectors for OSHA, he later explained.

The Trump administration is seeking to cut the DOL’s budget by $1.1 billion in FY 2019. It tried to cut the budget this fiscal year by $2.4 billion, but the bipartisan budget passed March 23 allocated about $12.2 billion for labor and its incumbent agencies like OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

OSHA is receiving $552.8 million this fiscal year, and the Trump budget calls a decrease in 2019 to $549 million. Acosta pressed his case for a $6.1 million increase to hire additional compliance officers.

The hearing was held April 12 before Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.