Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Spending bill signed into law for remainder of 2018

Congress finalized work this week on a $1.3 trillion spending package for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2018. The omnibus appropriations bill was then signed by the president despite a brief threat to veto the measure over border wall funding. The measure is reportedly the last piece of legislation that could be signed into law until after election day.

The package includes an overall increase of $138 billion in spending compared to FY2017, raising the defense cap by $80 billion to $629 billion, and the non-defense cap by $63 billion to $579 billion.

Of note, the bill includes:

  • Language preserving 6-day delivery
  • $145 million for Apprenticeship Grants, $50 million more than the FY2017 enacted level.
  • $2.8 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Grants to States, $80 million more than the FY2017 enacted level. 
  • $1.7 billion for Job Corps, $15 million more than the FY2017 enacted level.
  • $295 million for Veterans Employment and Training, $16 million more than the FY2017 enacted level.
  • $1.6 billion for worker protection agencies at the Department of Labor (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Office of Federal Contractor Compliance, and others), which is the same as the FY2017 enacted level.

Notably, the bill does not contain:

  • A rider that would block the National Labor Relations Board Election rule, the joint employer standard, and its ability to rule on the proper size of collective bargaining units.
  • A rider for S. 63, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (read NALC’s write up on it here), a bill which would strip the collective-bargaining rights of more than 628,000 tribal casino workers.
  • The $25 billion sought by the president for a wall on the southern border. It does however, contain $1.6 billion for border fencing.

With FY2018 funding now complete, Congress will turn to FY2019, which begins on October 1 of this year. The White House released its FY2019 budget proposal in February, read about that here, which calls for $44.49 billion in vaguely defined cuts to USPS and proposes reducing the frequency of delivery (presumably eliminating Saturday delivery) and scaling back door delivery, and giving USPS the authority to raise rates. With regards to the federal workforce, it calls for increasing FERS contributions, basing annuities on a high-5, eliminating the annuity supplement, slashing COLAs, ending defined FERS benefits for new federal employees, reducing the TSP G Fund interest rate, cuts to the Department of Labor, instituting union monitoring, and more.

While the presidents’ budget proposals are typically viewed as dead-on-arrival in Congress, both the House and Senate could draw from it while piecing together their respective proposals. NALC will resist any attempts by Congress to adopt any elements of the Trump budget that would target the Postal Service, its employees or its retirees.

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