WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that President Trump signed a spending package that includes language Brown secured to protect the continuation of site acquisition and construction of Cincinnati’s new National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) facility into law. The language prioritizing funding for NIOSH is part of the final Department of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies conference report. The NIOSH facilities in Cincinnati employ more than 500 Ohioans.
As part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NIOSH is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations to prevent work-related injury and illness. Last month, the CDC published their Record of Decision to the Federal Register, announcing the decision to proceed with purchase of the candidate site in Uptown and construction of the facility.
“Protecting this investment in Cincinnati’s NIOSH facility follows through on our commitment to Cincinnati and to all Ohio workers by putting southwest Ohio jobs and economic development first,” said Brown. “From black lung screening to making recommendations to prevent work-related injury and illness, NIOSH supports workers across the country and across Ohio and this funding will ensure that important work can continue.”
In June, Brown voted against an effort to pass the so-called “rescissions package,” which would have slashed the fund that is supposed to pay for construction of Cincinnati’s new NIOSH facility by half. Senate Republicans forced a vote on the so-called “rescissions package” would have taken back federal dollars intended for a wide range of projects and programs – including Cincinnati’s NIOSH construction – in order to pay for the $1 trillion deficit created by Republican tax cuts. With Brown’s opposition, the package failed on the floor by a vote of 48-50.
In May, Brown joined Cincinnati-area workers and business leaders at the proposed NIOSH site as he underscored the importance of jobs and economic impact created by the NIOSH project. In a letter to the Trump Administration, Brown called on Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar to tell Ohio how it will keep its commitment to move forward with the NIOSH project after the fund is cut.
In 2015, Brown helped secure $110 million in federal funds to advance construction and site consolidation for NIOSH’s new facility in Cincinnati. That money is supposed to come from the nonrecurring expense fund (NEF) at the Department of Health and Human Services, which currently has about $500 million for NIOSH and other projects.
Brown has worked to protect that fund from cuts for years in order to ensure the NIOSH construction continues moving forward. And up until now, the project had been proceeding on schedule. In fact, CDC recently solicited bids for a design-build contract. The Administration’s rescission package would have taken $220 million away from the nonrecurring expense fund – cutting the fund by about half and threatening the future of the project.
The new construction project will consolidate NIOSH’s Cincinnati facilities into one central location to improve and enhance scientific collaboration, as employees conduct research and make recommendations to prevent work-related injury and illness. The funding will also ensure that there are appropriate and adequate research facilities for NIOSH’s scientific program and will reduce operating costs by consolidating multiple facilities at a new campus location with one modern, single consolidated facility at a site bound by Martin Luther King Drive East to the south, Harvey Avenue to the west, Ridgeway Avenue to the north, and Reading Road to the east in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati.