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On my left is Dr. Janet Norwood, with the Commissioner of Labor Statistics. On my right is Bob Collyer, the Deputy Under Secretary for Employment Standards. On my far right is Thomas Komarek, the Acting Administrator, Office of Financial Control and Management Systems, Employment and Training Administration.
We also have Mr. Ford, the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Administration, in the event any questions on mine safety come up. And also Mr. Ronald St. Cyr, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Relations. And David Zeigler of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration."
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss the Department's fiscal year 1982 requests for supplementals, rescissions, and deferrals.
I am accompanied by representatives of each agency which has a supplemental or rescission request before your committee. These individuals will be happy to respond to specific questions involving their agency programs after I have presented this overview statement.
The Congress has already taken prompt action on the $2.3 billion supplemental providing additional authority needed to maintain unemployment insurance benefits and State administrative support for the unemployment insurance and employment services. The remaining 1982 changes now pending before this committee include supplemental authority to transfer-not new appropriations, but to transfer—$19.8 million to four salaries and expense appropriations, a deferral of $88.5 million in the employment and training assistance appropriation, and a rescission of $2.1 million in the Mine Safety and Health Administration funding.
In the employment and training assistance appropriation, the Department is proposing a deferral of $88.5 million. This amount does not represent a real reduction in ETA resources for fiscal 1982, since the $88.5 million relates to a like amount of unplanned unobligated carryover from 1981 which is available in 1982.
The Department is proposing to transfer $19.8 million of this amount to salaries and expenses accounts for four departmental agencies to enable them to continue important enforcement, data collection, and grant administration activities.
As our deferral message indicates, another portion of the $88 million deferral may be used to defray the cost of the civilian and executive pay increases, when the administration forwards its overall pay supplemental policy to the Congress.
Our justification materials indicate that the current estimate of additional needs for pay totals $21.7 million. The disposition of the remainder of the deferral is under review pending the establishment of final full-year funding levels for fiscal year 1982.
I would like now briefly to discuss the $19.8 million in supplemental transfer funding in the four agencies.
The approval of these supplemental requests to provide for the remaining 6 months of fiscal year 1982 is of paramount importance. The President's September request for 1982 salaries and expenses appropriations brings our total end-of-year 1982 staffing levels to 19,119, a reduction of 1,972, or 9.4 percent from fiscal year 1981. When considered from the actual onboard strength of 23,357 on December 31, 1981, or at the beginning of the Reagan administration, the fiscal year 1982 end-ofyear staff levels represents a reduction of 4,238, or 18.1 percent.
These numbers show that we have taken seriously the President's staff reduction goals. We believe that we are now at a barebones staff level, and that in the 1982 request are very nearly at our 1983 targets. These supplementals will simply permit agencies to operate at the already significantly reduced levels.
Without these funds, agencies which have already experienced substantial reductions in force, or which have not replaced staff lost through attrition, will be forced to furlough remaining staff for significant periods of time. I believe that the kind of disruption to functions of the agencies involved that would result from furloughs is unnecessary, and I urge you to take action on our supplemental transfer requests.
I will now address each agency in some detail. The Department is seeking supplemental transfer authority of $8,742,000 for the program administration account of the Employment and Training Administration. These additional funds will provide ETA with sufficient resources to maintain approved staffing levels through the end of the fiscal year.
Without this added funding, ETA would be forced to furlough all staff for approximately 6 weeks, thus creating significant disruption in grant administration activities, as well as having adverse effects on staff morale and productivity-$1 million of this supplemental is for the Veterans Employment Service staff, to maintain 225 positions throughout 1982, as mandated by Congress.
In addition, $1.1 million is for the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training positions, which the Congress also directed be maintained at a higher level than previously requested by the administration. ETA has already sustained a reduction in force of more than 400 staff in this fiscal year to live within approved ceilings and resource levels. This supplemental will allow the agency to maintain its reduced level without further adverse effects on program operations.
The Labor-Management Services Administration seeks 1982 supplemental transfer authority of $1,157,000. This funding will restore LMSA to the 1982 budget request made by the President last September, and will allow the agency to fund critical automated data processing systems in support of its various enforcement programs.
The Employment Standards Administration is seeking 1982 supplemental transfer authority of $4,259,000. These added funds will allow ESA to fully fund approved staff levels in its wage hour, workers' compensation, and executive direction activities. If the additional resources are not made available, ESA would be forced to furlough two-thirds of the entire agency staff for 15 days. ESA has already conducted a reduction in force of 215 persons to get down to the approved ceiling and resource levels.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is seeking supplemental transfer authority for $5,623,000. These additional resources are needed to fund approved BLS staffing levels and to avoid substantial staff furloughs. In addition, they are needed to continue contracts with the Bureau of the Census and State agencies necessary to assure the quality of our major employment and price statistical series. The ability of BLS to produce periodic data series, particularly in the area of prices and labor force statistics, would be seriously affected by the lack of a supplemental.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking a language change to increase the limitation found in OSHA's appropriations language on the amount that can be made available for State grants under section 23(g) of the OSHA statute. The language change further addresses the Secretary's authority to grant final approval of State plans which provide staffing levels equivalent to Federal levels. This language change does not require additional funding above the amounts approved by the Congress in the continuing resolution.
The Department is seeking a rescission of $2,095,000 in the Mine Safety and Health Administration appropriation. This rescission is related to the prohibition in the continuing resolution against inspecting stone, sand, and gravel mines. The amount proposed for rescission represents unneeded funding requested initially for sand and gravel inspections. The Congress has received an amended rescission proposal from the President indicating that $2 million of the original estimate of sand and gravel savings is now being used to provide additional coal mine inspections.
This concludes my overview statement, Mr. Chairman. I and my colleagues will be happy to respond to any questions you might have.
EFFECTS OF POSTPONING SUPPLEMENTAL ACTION Senator RUDMAN. Thank you, Mr. Zuck.
I'm sure you're aware that in the Congressional Record of February 10, 1982, Chairman Hatfield and Senator Schmitt both indicated their intention to consider added funding at the proper time on a timely basis regarding any intended layoffs of the Labor Department.
Aren't these assurances sufficient to prevent the actions you're talking about until we have time to act in a timely manner on these supplementals, which is usually, I believe, late May or early June?
In other words—I guess I'm combining two questions in one: Just what is the timetable, assuming nothing happens here, for the effects you have recited in your opening statement?
Mr. ZUCK. Certainly, Mr. Chairman, we appreciate very much the assurance of the chairman of the full committee and the chairman of the subcommittee that we should not embark upon any additional furloughs or reductions in force, and that it was likely that the supplemental transfers that we are requesting would be approved.
The problem we face is that if we wait for a regular supplemental bill, the normal timing of that I believe would be for the House perhaps to report a bill sometime in June. The normal time in which we get a first supplemental is some time in the middle-if not in the latesummer. With the significant dollar amounts involved in these four agencies, plus the fact that the administration will be sending shortly supplemental requests for pay raise, should we be required to absorb any of that or not have the funds in hand, we would be in the posture of having to take even more adverse effects or impact on staffing levels.
The later in the year that these funds are provided—and if they are not provided in their entirety-the more severe the problem becomes.
If, for example, funding should not be provided, as in this request, three of our agencies, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Employment Standards Administration, and the Employment and Training Administration, would have to embark on major furloughs for perhaps as many as 6 to 8 weeks.
In the case of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that means that you would be just about shutting down an entire agency for about 20 days, which would almost preclude the issuance of the very important statistical indicators that BLS issues. And for that reason we have felt that it was important that these supplementals be put on a faster track than the others.
Moreover, we're under legal limitations under the apportionment of funds under the continuing resolution. The continuing resolution specifies a precise-or is translated into a precise dollar amount. And we do not have deficiency apportionments approved that would permit us to operate at the higher level, so that in effect we could be in violation of the Antideficiency Act.
Senator RUDMAN. Well, of course, that is a specific problem issue which was implicit in my question.
That aside just for a moment, with your present level of funding in each of these accounts, or at least in whichever accounts you wish to address your answer to, is it not true that if in fact we waited until June or July and at that time funded the level that you're asking for in the supplementals, that in fact you would not have to take any specific additional action toward your employment over there at this time or until that point?
Mr. ZUCK. If we did not receive the supplementals let's say until July 1
Senator RUDMAN. And assuming that they came in at the levels that you have requested.
Mr. ZUCK. Assuming they came in at the levels, we would have some severe problems even with that. In the case of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a major portion of this request, funds contracts that go to the Bureau of Census; Census in turn is being affected by the absence of funding. And I'm not sure how far we can extend these assurances to other agencies of the Government.
We believe that it is imperative that these funds and the supplemental transfers we're requesting be made available to us by May 1, rather than let's say July 1.
Senator RUDMAN. I'm still not sure I have a specific answer to my question. You may not be able to give me a specific answer.
I guess what I'm trying to get the feeling for here is that being a good manager, you're in here at a propitious time; that you believe action at this time will even out any possible bumps that you have or your problems down the road.
Dr. Norwood is shaking her head.
IMPACT ON BLS OF POSTPONING SUPPLEMENTAL
Dr. NORWOOD. No, sir, I don't think that that is a fair presentation of our situation. Obviously we want to be good managers, and I'm sure that you and the Congress would like us to be.
We clearly have to know how much money we have to spend. Our problem is much broader than that, I believe, because if we are going to be responsible we need to know how much we can spend in each month.
We have, as Mr. Zuck has pointed out, problems with illegal action, given the legal apportionment requirements. Now if you set that aside, we would find no way, literally no responsible way, I believe to take the $5.6 million that we have in here for the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the end of the summer.
If Congress were to go on record and say, “We're going to give it to you, you may go ahead and plan that you're going to get it," that's one situation. Knowing what I know about how Government operates and understanding the problems that the Senate and the House have to contend with, that until the appropriation is actually passed, you probably cannot give us a complete assurance.
In the case of dismantling statistical programs—and that's what we're talking about, dismantling some of the major data collection activities—that would be I believe disastrous, even if it were to happen on April 1. If it happened on July 1 or August 1 we would be in an extremely difficult situation, because the data that we present, that we provide to the public are essential to the monitoring of the recession.
IMPLEMENTATION OF POTENTIAL BLS REDUCTIONS
Senator RUDMAN. I understand that. I think we all understand tha very clearly. And that is something that we wouldn't even anticipate happening.
Let me restate the question to you: Assuming, for whatever reason that there was no action on this at this time. Just assume that for: moment; and in fact your own evaluation of the action of the Hous and the Senate was that any action at all would not occur until July oi this specific request that we're talking about with you.
Would you please answer as specifically as you can at what poin would you start dismantling any of these agencies; if in fact you had hope for action in July, evaluated in whatever framework you wish t evaluate it in, but there was no action to be taken now. That's the ques tion I'm trying to find an answer to.
Dr. NORWOOD. The only responsible action that I can take as manage of the Bureau of Labor Statistics is to begin action on April 1.