Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congressional week in review April 23-27

The House and Senate were in session this past week, but members head back to their respective districts and states before returning on May 7.

The House and Senate were in session this past week, but members head back to their respective districts and states before returning on May 7.

This week has seen a lot of action around postal issues, both indirectly through opioid related measures and directly through legislation submitted. On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously approved the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 (S. 2680), which would upgrade facilities (USPS included) to improve the detection and seizure of illegal drugs such as fentanyl. With regards to the Postal Service, import and international mail facilities would be outfitted with controlled substance detection and testing equipment and other applicable technology.

Also on Tuesday, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced S. 2741, a bill that would authorize USPS to inspect contents of suspicious packages for illicit materials without a warrant.

On Wednesday, House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on opioid shipments through international mail. Much of the hearing dealt with interception and the use of advanced electronic data (AED), including mentions of how the STOP Act would address these problems. NALC will monitor next steps as the issue unfolds.

Also on Wednesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S. 2755, a bill that would establish a postal bank in each of USPS’s 30,000 locations. If enacted into law, the legislation would allow the Postal Service to offer small-dollar financial services. Sen. Gillibrand’s efforts are preceded by similar efforts advocated by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA).

Also notable this week:

  • President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson announced Thursday that he was pulling out of the nomination process amid rising allegations over professional misconduct. The president has yet to offer a new nominee.
  • In a 393 to 13 vote on Friday, the House passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4), authorizing Federal Aviation Administration programs through 2023.
  • After previously stating he would not seek reelection, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) announced his resignation on Friday, effective immediately.

Bills of Interest from This Week

  • S. 2741 – a bipartisan bill that would authorize the USPS to inspect contents of suspicious packages for illicit materials without a warrant.
  • S. 2680 – the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, the bipartisan bill that upgrade facilities (USPS included) to improve the detection and seizure of illegal drugs.
  • S. 2755 – a bill that would establish a Postal Bank.
  • S. 2746 – a bill that would require the Secretary of Labor to establish a pilot program to provide grants for job guarantee programs
  • H.R. 5631, H.R. 5632, and S. 2782 – all bills prohibiting non-compete clauses and restrictions of current or future employment.

 

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