Funding deal boosts mine safety agency’s budget

The previous funding bill allocated $1.49 million for the technical support spending, but the Senate bill lets the agency collect and use up to $2.49 million for the certification.

That increase matches MSHA’s request for more money which it says are necessary “to match MSHA’s costs associated with the testing of equipment.”

“The increase in fees will capture overhead costs that were not previously part of the formula in calculating the current fee structure,” the agency said in its fiscal 2014 budget request.

That money could pay for maintaining laboratories and information technology systems as well as employee training, MSHA added.

The funding add-on is one of several surprises tucked into the bill, which was hastily released ahead of a Thursday deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

The bill restores funding to the government through Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling through Feb. 7.