If President Trump gets his way, expect to see budgets slashed at the major federal agencies responsible for regulation employers.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal contains significant cuts in funding for the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board, and more modest cuts for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The administration’s budget plan requests $9.4 billion for DOL, down by $2.6 billion (21%) from the level enacted in 2017.
The proposal says, “The budget focuses DOL on its highest priority functions and disinvests in activities that are duplicative, unnecessary, unproven or ineffective. The budget also takes steps to reorganize and modernize the agency’s operations so scarce taxpayer dollars are spent well.”
About $200 million would be invested in apprenticeship programs, while DOL would work to reorganize and consolidate various other existing workforce development programs.
Promoting Association Health Plans is another administration priority (AA, 2-18-18, P. 5). In order to achieve that, the budget calls for increasing funding for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, which is tasked with developing rules and policies to develop and support such alternative health arrangements.
NLRB funding also would be cut by about 9%, resulting in a 7.2% decrease in the number of full-time employees. There are currently about 170 unfilled positions at NLRB.
The board already had planned personnel cuts but hasn’t yet implemented them. Also, new NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb has discussed a reorganization of the board’s regional staff.
“Presidential budgets are not set in stone, but typically provide a general idea of where the administration’s priorities lie,” points out Michael Lotito, an attorney with the law firm of Littler Mendelson.