Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House Republicans introduce two budget blueprints

This week, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) introduced a budget resolution for the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2017. H.Con.Res. 125 seeks to cut $5.5 trillion in spending over 10 years.

On the heels of this House budget resolution, the Republican Study Committee unveiled its FY2017 recommendation, which calls for even more deep cuts to federal spending—to the tune of $6.5 trillion over 10 years.

Both budget announcements were light on details, which are expected to emerge over the coming weeks—especially with regard to cuts affecting the federal and postal communities.

Of particular note in the House budget resolution is language that would essentially put the U.S. Postal Service back on budget, a move that could help enact some type of postal reform but could also have serious consequences with regard to using USPS as a pay-for pay for in this years’ budget or in future years’ budgets, making it a long-term threat. Although the House Budget Committee passed its resolution this week, further action on the House floor is not expected until after the coming spring district work period. No action has been taken, or is expected to be, on the Republican Study Committee’s budget or on President Obama’s budget request.

Previous budgets offered by the House majority have contained significant cuts to federal agencies, including the Postal Service, and on federal and postal employees. In FY2016 for example, the House Budget Committee called for more than $318 billion in cuts to federal employee pay and benefits.

As a matter of practice, budget resolutions do not become law, making them largely symbolic. However, they do serve as messaging documents for party priorities, and they are used as guides when looking at spending within a fiscal year—and this, in turn, is used to help each chamber’s appropriations committees determine their own spending allocations.

NALC is reviewing both budgets as information is released and will update the website site with additional information as the budget process moves forward.

Spring recess

Both the House and Senate are preparing to leave for their spring district work periods, with senators departing on March 19 and the House representatives on March 24. Neither will be back in session until April 12; NALC encourages members to schedule in-district meetings with their congressional representatives to keep up the pressure on our supported resolutions.

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