Trump Budget Hammers Department of Labor
By Kevin M. Mosher • Mar 17, 2017
It’s only a “skinny” proposed budget from the Executive Branch to Congress, but if enacted as written it could significantly impact the Department of Labor’s enforcement capabilities. In the President’s budget the DOL fares poorly, receiving a proposed $2.5 billion cut, equal to about 21% of its annual budget. It is not clear yet where those proposed cuts would be made, the big question being whether they come mostly from grant money the DOL gives out or whether the cuts will be borne primarily by the agency’s staff. If, as many expect, the cuts are directed mostly at reducing the agency’s staff the agency’s ability to investigate and enforce laws would be muted.
The agency is primarily tasked with enforcement of federal wage and hour laws, contractor compliance, child labor laws, aspects of immigration law, OSHA, and other laws that employers must understand and comply with daily. Given the breadth of the DOL’s enforcement oversight responsibilities, having the agency limited in its ability to investigate and enforce laws within its purview could be a boon for employers worried about regulatory compliance.
That said, the likelihood that Congress agrees with the proposed cut of 21% to the DOL’s budget is low. It is an ambitious opening ask though, which may be encouraging to many business interests.
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