FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:http://mikulski.senate.gov
28-Jun-2007 CONTACT: Melissa Schwartz
Mikulski Implements Reform, Increases Funding for EEOC in Spending Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced the fiscal year 2008 spending bill includes $378 million for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), $50 million above the President's budget request. The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, as well as providing oversight and coordination of all federal regulations, practices and policies.
"My job as Chairwoman is to make sure the EEOC is fighting to keep the playing field level and ending discrimination at the workplace. We must provide the agency with the resources they need to protect employees," said Senator Mikulski. "At the same time, we also need to make sure the EEOC is doing its job - that's why I worked to put not only money, but reform provisions, in this bill."
The EEOC has received rising complaints of employment discrimination and increasing backlogs of cases, yet it has downsized its staff and contracted out work. It has cut the number of staff who investigate claims, reduced the number of district offices, decreased the number of attorneys, and reduced staff by 575 employees since 2001.
"In the past, the EEOC has ignored the intent of Congress. It has compromised the important mission of enforcing our civil rights laws," said Senator Mikulski. "This Committee must ensure hardworking taxpayers' dollars are being well-spent and that the EEOC is not wasting resources or undermining civil rights protection. I look forward to working with the new EEOC leadership to implement the reforms necessary to get the agency back on track."
Persistent concerns about discrimination within the EEOC are part of what motivated Senator Mikulski to emphasize congressional oversight, accountability and fiscal stewardship in this year's spending bill. The bill requires each agency to notify the Committee immediately after learning of program cost overruns greater than 10 percent. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is directed to conduct biannual reports of programs and projects greater than $100 million to identify cost overruns and mismanagement. This will help to address the dramatic backlogs reported at the EEOC's call center.
The spending bill passed the full Appropriations Committee this afternoon. In the next step of the appropriations process, the bill will move to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled. For more information on the CJS spending bill, go to: http://mikulski.senate.gov/Newsroom/releases.cfm.