Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Two-year government spending and debt ceiling deal signed into law

Today, the President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (H.R. 3877), a two-year $2.7 trillion-dollar budget deal along with a two-year suspension of the nation’s debt. 

The deal increases total defense discretionary spending from $716 billion to $738 billion during fiscal year (FY) 2020 and $740.5 billion in FY21, while nondefense spending would increase from $605 billion to $632 billion in FY20 and $634 billion in FY21. The spending deal also prevents nearly $125 billion in mandatory spending cuts set to trigger on October 1, which were implemented through a sequester (mandatory spending cuts) in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Of significance for federal and postal employees, the deal does not make any changes to federal employee health and retirement benefits or seek drastic agency spending and hiring cuts, despite Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) calling for $15 billion in savings by raising federal employees retirement contributions, in its FY 2020 Budget Resolution in initial negotiations.

The deal gives Congress, which is returning in September, the parameters it requires to negotiate spending for 12 appropriations bills, which funds various government programs and agencies. Congress will return with just over three weeks Senate to find agreement on each appropriations measure or it will need to combine appropriations measures into “mini-buses” or a single “omnibus” measure in order to avoid a third shutdown during this administration.

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