Government affairs

Legislative Updates

DOL and White House considering omnibus rescissions

Today, in a hearing with the House Committee on Ways and Means, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced that his department is discussing potential rescissions with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Rescissions are a presidential request to take back funds already appropriated. The result would negate an agency’s ability to use previously appropriated funds.

Last month, Congress passed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year (FY) and late last week it was revealed that OMB director Mick Mulvaney is leading a proposal to cut as much as $60 billion from that approved budget. The White House intends to release this proposal on May 1.

Sec. Acosta did not elaborate on what any potential rescissions at his department would look like, which received $12.2 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $192 million from FY2017. There is concern cuts may come from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act and protections for workers, unions, and businesses. The White House’s FY2019 budget proposal cuts the agency’s funding by 9 percent, which prompted nearly 400 NLRB employees to draft a letter stating such a proposal is too harsh and will hurt American workers (read NALC’s write up here).

Under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act of 1974, the president may rescind appropriated funds temporarily, but to do so permanently would require congressional approval. It would be surprising for Congress to change or undo key parts of the agreed-upon budget, especially as it would require bipartisan support to achieve the 60 vote threshold.

NALC will continue to monitor this issue and keep its members updated on any activity.

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