Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Week in Review November 26-30

This week, Congress returned from Thanksgiving recess with only a few legislative days left in the 115th to address must-pass items.

Most pressing for Congress is the seven remaining appropriations bills to pass to avoid a partial government shutdown of the following departments: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, and State-Foreign Operations as well as many other agencies.

Included in those negotiations may be a fight over funding for border security as the Senate included $1.6 billion in its bill, compared with the House’s $5 billion. The President once again threatened to veto any legislation that does not provide what he and his Administration deem to be enough funding for border security, an act which would likely lead to shutting down the government. Were this to occur, it would make for the third shutdown under President Trump’s leadership.

Earlier this month, the President also threatened to cut federal funding to fight the deadly wildfires in California over what he deemed to be poor “forest management,” before he relented days later and approved disaster assistance for the state. Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is working to include between $715 million to $720 million in disaster funding for California in the Dec. 7 spending bill, another critical element in appropriations talks.

Lawmakers from both parties have repeatedly stated they would like to avoid a shutdown and any resolution agreed upon by the chambers would need to clear the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, making it necessary for both parties to find common ground.

While the government funding deadline is the most pressing for Congress, lawmakers have also continued working on a Farm Bill, which expires December 31.

Additionally, both chambers continue talks on criminal justice reform. The First Step Act (H.R.5682) passed the House in May 2018 in a 360-59 vote, but despite strong bipartisan compromise in the Senate and support from the President, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appears unlikely to bring the legislation to the Senate floor. While he has not committed to any decision, his continued delay has frustrated fellow Senate Republicans.

House Activity

House Democrats held their caucus elections this week, nominating House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the Democratic party’s candidate for Speaker of the House; electing House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as the incoming House Majority Leader; and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the current Assistant Minority Leader to be the new House Majority Whip, among other leadership roles. View the full article on House Democratic leadership here.

House Republicans announced their ranking members for the 116th Congress this week as well. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) will be the new ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the committee that oversees the Postal Service. View the full article on House Republican committee leadership here. House Democrats have yet to announce their committee leadership.

Resolutions

House Resolution 15 (H.Res. 15)
Status: Introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Co-sponsors: 258 (185 Democrats – 73 Republicans)

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its six-day mail delivery service.

House Resolution 28 (H.Res. 28)
Status: Introduced by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
Co-sponsors: 247 (186 Democrats – 61 Republicans)

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of door delivery for all business and residential customers.

House Resolution 31 (H.Res. 31)
Status: Introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV)
Co-sponsors: 231 (179 Democrats – 52 Republicans)

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to restore service standards in effect as of July 1, 2012.

House Resolution 993 (H.Res. 993)
Status: Introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
Co-sponsors: 239 (183 Democrats – 56 Republicans)

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should take all appropriate measures to ensure that the United States Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the Federal Government and is not subject to privatization.

Senate Resolution 633 (S. Res. 633)
Status: Introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Co-sponsors: 49 (42 Democrats – 5 Republicans – 2 Independents)

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should take all appropriate measures to ensure that the United States Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the Federal Government and is not subject to privatization.

*Note: At 49 cosponsors, this resolution is close a majority of support. Check here to see if your Senators have not yet signed onto the resolution. If they have not, NALC encourages all letter carriers to contact their Senators to become cosponsors of this resolution.

 

Return to Legislative Updates

NALC MEMBER APP

The free NALC Member App for iPhones and Android smartphones provides convenient access to information about issues affecting active and retired letter carriers and USPS, plus customizable push notification alerts.

Click to download