Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congress returns from summer recess with big agenda

Congress is back on Capitol Hill and has a long “to do” list before their next recess begins on Oct. 3. Below is an overview of what we can expect to be put before the House and Senate over the next month.

Government funding: The government’s funding is set to expire on Sept. 30, leaving Congress little time to work on 12 individual spending bills. As a result, another short-term continuing resolution (CR) is expected to be passed to prevent a government shutdown.

Zika funding: Senate Democrats have demanded the removal of several controversial “poison pill” policy riders before permitting a vote on a $1.1 billion Zika response package. Senate Republicans are likely to eliminate those provisions and House Republicans recently met to discuss a path forward.

Mineworkers health and pension accounts: The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote soon on a bill to save the United Mine Workers Association (UMWA) Health and Retirement Fund from collapsing. Without congressional action, 22,000 mineworkers will lose their health insurance and face reduced retirement benefits before the end of the year. NALC recently joined the UMWA on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to take action.

National Defense Authorization Act: The Senate and House committees on armed services will continue to work on a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act. Both versions call for exempting almost all defense contractors from a recent executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose previous labor violations. President Obama has threatened to veto the legislation over the provision.

Immigration: Congress has until Sept. 30 to renew a visa program that allow entrepreneurs to obtain a green card if they invest at least $500,000 in a business that creates at least 10 permanent full-time jobs.

In addition, keep one eye open for any efforts to advance postal reform legislation in the House.

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