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Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010: EEOC, OSHA and Other Federal Agencies To Get Additional Funding For Enforcement and Compliance Activities
Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed an appropriations bill that would provide federal agencies with $121 million in additional funding for enforcement and compliance activities. After the omnibus bill passed the House on December 10, 2009, a strong filibuster effort was waged by Senate Republicans which delayed progress on the bill. However, on Saturday, December 12, 2009, Senate Democrats overcame the opposition and voted to end debate and clear the way for a final vote by a margin of 60-34.
Of the $447 billion allocated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, the EEOC would receive an increase of $23 million so the agency can address the backlog of 70,000 plus discrimination cases. This funding increase is consistent with President Obama’s campaign promise to increase the staff and fully fund the EEOC. In addition, four U.S. Department of Labor agencies, including OSHA, will receive a total of $1.6 billion, which is an additional $121 million over 2009 funding, to support more than 600 new full-time enforcement and compliance personnel. This is an important boost to OSHA, which has been underfunded annually after funding reached a peak in 2001. Wisconsin Representative David R. Obey, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said, “…the bill makes vital investments to train people for jobs, shores up health and social safety nets to provide relief for millions of hard-working Americans caught in a struggle for economic survival, and provides the educational opportunities that are critical to the nation’s longer-term prosperity.”
The omnibus bill passed in the House on December 10, 2009 by a vote of 221-202 and the U.S. Senate voted to approve the bill by a margin of 57-35 on December 13, 2009. The bill will now proceed to the White House for President Obama’s signature.