By: Evan Szarenski
On March 9, President Biden released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which will cover October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024. In the days that followed, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued several documents that further explain its budget request. These documents provide insight into the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program's (OFCCP) priorities moving into the last full fiscal year before the 2024 presidential election.
Before getting into OFCCP’s specific request, a quick refresher on the federal appropriations process is necessary to understand the context of budget request. Every year, the President is required to submit a budget request to Congress laying out recommended spending levels and justifying those spending levels. The House and Senate will then pass a budget resolution setting budget authority for high-level functional categories, like national defense and income security. Congress then passes appropriation bills, which actually provide the funding for federal agencies. The amount that Congress appropriates is frequently very different than the amount the administration requests. Consequently, the budget request should be viewed as the current administration’s wish list.
- OFCCP will continue its attempts to increase staff and resources. OFCCP is requesting a 36% higher budget in FY 24 (from $110,976 currently to $151,462) along with a 25% increase in staff (from 495 currently to 620). This continues the Biden administration’s attempts to increase the size and resources of OFCCP after a long-term decline through the Trump and latter part of the Obama administrations.
- OFCCP will continue to develop its Mega Construction Project Program and expand its reach. While the Mega Construction Project Program is currently limited to General Services Administration and Department of Transportation projects, the budget requests indicates that OFCCP will work with other federal agencies that are disbursing funds under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act.
- OFCCP will work to interface its Case Management System (CMS), Contractor Portal, and Notification of Construction Award Portal (NCAP). There has been a long-term desire at OFCCP to allow these systems to talk to each other to allow OFCCP to review more contractors. The budget request implies that OFCCP will move to require contractors selected for audit to submit AAPs through the Contractor Portal.
- OFCCP will seek to increase its capacity to evaluate AI and other technology-based selection systems. OFCCP is seeking funding to hire data scientists, labor economists, statisticians, and IO psychologists to help it review increasingly complex selection and compensation systems.
It remains to be seen if Congress will give OFCCP funding anywhere near the level it is requesting. (Last year, OFCCP requested $147,051 and received $110,976 from Congress.) Regardless of the amount of appropriations it actually receives, OFCCP will likely continue to pursue these big-picture goals to the extent it can.
DCI will keep its clients and the federal contractor community apprised of any updates as they become available.