Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House adjourns for the year while Senate stays extra week; meet with your members during recess

On Thursday, the House adjourned its last legislative session of the year. House members are headed back to their districts and are scheduled to return on Jan. 9. The Senate, which was also scheduled to adjourn at the end of the week, will stay in Washington for another week with the goal of a bipartisan border security agreement and potential aid for Ukraine. The Senate is set to convene its first session of 2024 on Jan. 8.

As lawmakers wrap up the year and head home for the holidays, much work remains to be done in early 2024 and beyond. The top priority will be funding the government, which faces a two-tiered deadline, Jan. 19 for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Feb. 2 for the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Labor and Health and Human Services. So far, the House has passed seven of the 12 appropriations bills while the Senate has passed only three.

Deep partisan divisions have surrounded the appropriations process. Many House Republicans are pushing for steeper spending cuts while House Democrats have said they will not support anything that falls below the spending limits agreed to in the debt-limit deal reached this summer. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has floated the idea of a year-long continuing resolution if the 12 appropriations bills are not passed. Democrats immediately shot this down claiming the cuts would be catastrophic for agencies governmentwide.

Border security and aid for Ukraine will be another top issue moving into the new year. While the Senate is staying an extra week in hopes of passing a bipartisan border security package, it is unclear how such an agreement would be received in the House.

Some lawmakers are determined to secure more funding for Ukraine, like Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who is holding up the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration until aid for the war is considered. With some lawmakers unwilling to consider it until border security is addressed, it is unclear when and if an aid package, which President Biden has repeatedly called for, will pass both chambers.

While January is set to be a busy month in Washington, the holiday recess is an excellent time to connect with your members of Congress while they are home in their districts and states. NALC members are encouraged to attend any town halls and to reach out to district offices to schedule meetings to educate their members on NALC’s priority issues.

You can find your House representative's contact information here and your Senators’ contact information here.

Click here to familiarize yourself with NALC’s priority legislation, check if your members of Congress are cosponsoring NALC’s bills, and access fact sheets. If you have any questions, please contact your NALC legislative and political organizer.

You can also start planning the year ahead with NALC’s congressional calendar. NALC encourages all letter carriers to familiarize themselves with the schedule and to know when their representative and senators plan to be in their districts and states to plan meetings accordingly.

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