Congressional Testimonies - (Archived) Table of Contents|
| Information Date:||02/14/2002|
| Presented To:||The Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Committee on Appropriations United States House of Representatives|
| Speaker:||Henshaw, John L.|
ORAL STATEMENT OF
JOHN L. HENSHAW
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
ON BEHALF OF:
ANN L. COMBS
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR PENSION AND WELFARE BENEFITS
TAMMY D. McCUTCHEN
ADMINISTRATOR, WAGE-HOUR DIVISION
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ADMINISTRATION
DAVID D. LAURISKI
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH
THOMAS B. MOORHEAD
DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL LABOR AFFAIRS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON LABOR,
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION
COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 14, 2002
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. I am John Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, and I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today.
Joining me at the table today are Ann Combs, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Pension and Welfare Benefits; Tammy McCutchen, Administrator, Wage-Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration; David Lauriski, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health; and Thomas Moorhead, Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs as we discuss the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 Budget as it relates to our respective agencies.
We have each submitted a written statement for the record and appreciate the opportunity to do so.
As Secretary Chao indicated in her testimony before this Subcommittee yesterday, FY 2003 is a wartime budget and the Department of Labor's initiatives were designed with that reality in mind. But the overall outlook remains unchanged: the Department's primary mission, in addition to workforce preparation is worker protection - their workplaces, their pensions, their wallets, and their rights.
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
I want to first highlight the Department's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, which remains at the forefront of Administration's efforts to protect workers' retirement security.
PWBA promotes and protects the pension, health, and other benefits of over 150 million participants and beneficiaries in more than six million private sector employee benefit plans, holding nearly 4.8 trillion in assets. The continued increase in the number of employee benefit plans and the number of people covered, and the importance of retirement plan assets to our capital markets, and the proliferation of new benefit arrangements has, over the years, greatly expanded the scope and complexity of PWBA's responsibilities.
As you know, President Bush recently released a package of legislative proposals that would give workers more choice, confidence, and control over their retirement savings in 401(k) plans.
To address this need and to further support PWBA's enforcement responsibilities, in FY 2003, the President's request for PWBA is $121 million and 861 FTE. This is a $7 million increase over FY 2002.
I should note that the PWBA request is further complemented by the request for additional resources in the Office of Inspector General to further protect pension funds from labor racketeering.
Employment Standards Administration
As you know, Mr. Chairman, the Employment Standards Administration enforces and administers a wide variety of labor laws and benefit programs that protect and serve over 100 million workers.
It is composed of four major programs: the Wage and Hour Division, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, and the Office of Labor Management Standards. Together, these four programs administer over 100 laws and Executive Orders that provide workers' compensation benefits; ensure equal employment opportunities at federal contractors; protect the rights of union members; and enforce minimum wage, child labor, and overtime pay standards, as well as family and medical leave protection.
The request before the Committee for ESA in FY 2003 is $589 million and 4,315 FTE. One of the enforcement highlights for ESA in FY 2003 is the Office of Labor-Management Standards. The Department is requesting an increase of $3.5 million and 40 FTE for OLMS to carry-out its responsibilities related to improving compliance with the reporting requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act and to advance LMRDA safeguards for union financial integrity.
This increase would only partially restore the significant budget cuts that OLMS went through in 1993 and 1994 -- and the requested resources would substantially bolster the agency's streamlined union audit programs, as well as improve outreach and enforcement efforts to secure better reporting compliance. The increase would also enable OLMS to better protect union member funds, fight labor racketeering, and promote union democracy.
Mine Safety and Health Administration
For FY 2003, the Department is requesting $264 million and 2,264 FTE for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. While this reflects an overall decrease from the agency's FY 2002 levels, targeted increases of $10 million are directed at MSHA's enforcement responsibilities.
Part of the overall decrease from 2002 reflects the proposed realignment of MSHA's workforce to reflect changes in the mining industry itself -- specifically, the decline in the coal mine industry. In recent years, the number of coal mines and miners has declined, but MSHA has not adjusted its workforce to correspond to the reductions.
While the coal mine industry is declining, mining at metal and non-metal mines is increasing. Therefore, MSHA's enforcement in the Metal/Non-Metal arena will increase by nearly $3 million in FY 2003.
And as I indicated at the beginning of my statement, the Department's FY 2003 budget was developed with the goal of serving the needs of the 21st Century Workforce. The Department is requesting $2 million for MSHA to implement an electronic government to improve customer service. The mining industry relies on statistical data compiled by MSHA and this 21st Century initiative would meet the growing demand for timely, accurate and accessible information - information designed to better protect the mining workforce.
Bureau of International Labor Affairs
As you know, Mr. Chairman, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs carries out the Secretary of Labor's international responsibilities to help shape U.S. foreign policy so that it furthers the well-being of the American workforce and to provide expert support for the Administration's international labor activities.
For FY2003, the ILAB budget request is $54.6 million and 85 FTE. This request represents a significant decrease over the agency's FY 2002 levels - but will allow ILAB to continue its core mission to provide technical assistance that promotes core worker rights, and to continue its efforts to reduce child labor abuses abroad. Seen in the context, the FY 2003 request stabilizes recent ILAB budgets -- which jumped 1,500% between FY 1995 and 2001.
The heart of the Bureau's mission is assisting in the formulation of U.S. international policies and programs that affect U.S. workers. The Bureau supports the President's free and open trade agenda, while strengthening the capacity of our trading partners to provide respect for internationally-accepted core labor standards.
In FY2003, ILAB intends to continue to support programs to reduce child labor abuses abroad through the ILO's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor, or IPEC. The Bureau will continue to support ongoing IPEC efforts in countries that are committed to addressing the problem of child labor, helping reduce the incidence of child labor around the world, educating the public and policy-makers about the issue, and advocating and enhancing the world-wide movement against abusive child labor.
Moreover, through the Child Labor Education Initiative, ILAB will continue to support innovative projects in foreign countries that provide access to basic education as a means to combat child labor.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
And lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will address my home agency -- the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The request for OSHA in FY 2003 is $437 million and 2,233 FTE. While this represents an overall reduction over FY 2002 levels, targeted increases in OSHA's enforcement and compliance assistance efforts will rise by $13 million in FY 2003.
There will actually be more OSHA enforcement actions in FY 2003 than ever before -- rising 1,300 from less than 36,000 in 2001 to nearly 38,000 in 2003. That will result in safer workplaces -- and better-protected workers.
As OSHA has risen to meet our expanded responsibilities for homeland security, my agency has also worked with employers and employees to improve the safety and health of America's workforce. Our country now has the lowest occupational injury and illness rate on record -- 6.1 cases per 100 workers. This latest drop in the injury and illness rate was the eighth in a row. Injury and illness rates in more dangerous occupations also continued to drop. In an effort to continue this trend, I have worked with Secretary Chao to establish four priorities for meeting OSHA's mission of protecting workers' safety and health. The FY 2003 budget request reflects these priorities, including: 1) building OSHA's capacity for leadership in workplace safety and health as exemplified by our work at the World Trade Center, our response to bioterrorism and decreasing injury and illness rates; 2) continuing our commitment to strong, effective, and fair enforcement; 3) expanding outreach, education, and compliance assistance efforts; and 4) encouraging and improving voluntary efforts with partnerships and volunteer programs.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, this is an overview of where PWBA, ESA, OSHA, MSHA, and ILAB are headed in FY 2003. As indicated earlier, further detail on our agencies is provided in our written statements.
Again, we appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
|Congressional Testimonies - (Archived) Table of Contents|