Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congressional Pre-Recess review

The House and Senate were in session this month, from July 9 to July 27. The House of Representatives heads home for August Recess and are set to return September 4, following Labor Day, while the Senate will remain in session at least for part of the scheduled recess.

House and Senate Activity

On July 16, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) along with nine other bipartisan representatives introduced House Resolution (H. Res. 993) calling on Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the Postal Service remain an independent agency of the federal government and not be subject to privatization. As of press, 63 members have cosponsored the resolution, but we need 218 cosponsors to achieve a majority. Please call your member and ask them to sign on to H. Res. 993 (more information here).

In the ongoing work on fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations, the House of Representatives approved a package (H.R.6147) of two fiscal year (FY) 2019 Appropriations bills including a bill funding Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) on July 19. Of note, the House preserved NALC’s long-standing language on six-day mail delivery (write up here). The major victory for letter carriers, however, was the defeat of House Republican Whip, Rep. Patrick McHenry’s (R-NC) amendment, which sought to prohibit the Postal Service from carrying out any programs or task forces on expanded financial services. Thanks to the quick response from letter carriers, the amendment failed in a 201-212 vote (viewable here). 28 Republicans joined the whole Democratic caucus in opposition. If your Member of Congress opposed the amendment, take a moment to contact them and let them know we appreciate their support.

On July 26, NALC Executive Vice President Brian Renfroe participated in a briefing panel on Capitol Hill hosted by A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service. The briefing came in response to the recent report issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that calls for privatization of the Postal Service, and in anticipation of the White House Postal Task Force report due on August 10. Renfroe, along with his fellow panel members, argued against postal privatization for numerous reasons and instead urged Congressional staffers in attendance to appeal to their bosses to cosponsor H. Res. 993.

FY19 appropriations continued with the House vote on the FY19 NDAA on July 26, approving the $717 billion defense policy bill. The Senate is likely to take up and pass the measure next week following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) announcement to limit debate on the bill.

On July 24, the Senate voted to confirm Robert L. Wilkie as Secretary for Veterans Affairs in an 86-9 vote. Wilkie is preceded by former secretary Dr. David Shulkin who, according to Shulkin, was fired in response to his opposition toward VA privatization. Wilkie takes charge of the second largest government agency, overseeing an $81.5 billion budget that provides over 9 million veterans with medical care.

White House Activity

On July 9, President nominated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court. His nomination will be considered by the Senate in the coming weeks. 

The Senate is expected to continue its work on the FY19 Appropriations process through what would have been their August recess, as will the House when they return. With only 11 session days for the House to consider their six remaining appropriations bills before going into conference with the Senate on the remaining bills, Congress is unlikely to finish their work before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Letter carriers can expect a temporary funding measure to come out of Capitol Hill, which may or may not be signed by the President.

With Members of Congress back in their districts, stay active and engaged by using the recess as an opportunity to get in contact with your member on our resolutions.

Make calls to their offices: You can contact your members via the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, be prepared to provide your ZIP code to connect to your representative’s office.

Schedule a visit in the district: Need help locating your member of Congress or the district office nearest you? Click here to find out who your member is and how to reach them in the district.

Ask them to support our resolutions:

  • H. Res. 993 (oppose postal privatization)
    — 63 co-sponsors (49 Democrat, 14 Republican)
    Click here to find out if your rep is a co-sponsor.

  • H.Res. 15 (six-day mail delivery)
    — 255 co-sponsors (183 Democrat, 72 Republican)
    Click here to find out if your rep is a co-sponsor.

  • H.Res. 28 (door delivery)
    — 246 co-sponsors (185 Democrat, 61 Republican)
    Click here to find out if your rep is a co-sponsor.

  • H.Res. 31 (service standards)
    — 227 co-sponsors (177 Democrat, 50 Republican)
    Click here to find out if your rep is a co-sponsor.

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