Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House committee approves appropriations bill preserving six-day language

The House Committee on Appropriations has approved the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government’s (FSGG) fiscal year 2017 bill, H.R. 5485. Of particular note for letter carriers, this measure preserves the long-standing six-day mail delivery language that has been included each year since 1983.

The committee also approved an amendment offered by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) that would restore service standards in effect on July 1, 2012. Kaptur’s amendment passed unanimously, marking a shift from last year when the committeea narrowly approved a similar amendent.

Kaptur drew attention to the strong bipartisan majority of House members who have supported restoring these service standards through H. Res. 54, which has 233 co-sponsors.

“Since these standards were lowered,” Kaptur said, ”timely processing and delivering of mail has been degraded across our country. Delayed mail harms businesses, families, rural and urban communities, and truly has become a drag on our economy.”

The full appropriation measure provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and several other agencies. The bill totals $20.2 billion in funding, $1.3 billion (6 percent) below the Fiscal Year 2015 enacted level and $4.8 billion (11 percent) below the president’s budget request.

Among the largest called-for cuts in the measure is an $838 million reduction in funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The bill also calls for preventing the IRS from implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act and for prohibiting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from implementing a net-neutrality order.

Minority-party members on the committee have suggested that too many “poison pill” riders were included in the bill, creating a partisan package that has little chance of being sent to the president’s desk for approval.

So far, the House has passed six of the 12 appropriations bills required to fund the government beyond Sept. 30. With just a handful of legislative days remaining before members leave for August recess, it is unlikely that the House and Senate will be able to agree on—let alone approve—all 12 spending measures. Consequently, funding measures are expected to come in the form of short-term continuing resolutions instead.

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