Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congressional Week in Review (December 10-14)

Congress were in session this week, working to advance the remaining appropriations bills before they reach the end of a short-term stopgap measure that is set to expire on December 21. Negotiations over Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, and State-Foreign Operations also include a potential fight over funding for border security where the Senate and House differ on levels, and the President has threatened to veto any legislation that does not provide what he and his Administration deem to be enough funding. Despite threats, it should be noted he has yet to follow through and veto any piece of legislation brought to his desk.

Senate Activity

Last week, the anti-privatization resolution S. Res. 633 reached a majority of support in the Senate. Along with H. Res. 993, both resolutions call 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 today, 52 Senators and 240 Members of Congress have cosponsored the resolutions in the Senate and House respectively.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have announced full committee memberships for the new Congress, which will include a change of hands for NALC’s key committees. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee (HSGAC) will continue to be led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), but now with Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI). Senate Appropriations will be led by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) with Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senate Budget will be led by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) with Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will be led by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) with Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA).

For the early part of next week, the Senate is expected to focus on criminal justice reform and the legislative vehicle for the First Step Act (S.756), and will spend the rest working on an appropriations agreement.

House Activity

House Republicans have confirmed their incoming committee leadership, but House Democrats have yet to announce their assignments. The most likely scenarios are House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) with Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH), House Appropriations will be led by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) with Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX), House Budget will be led by Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) with Ranking Member Steve Womack (R-AR), and the soon-to-named House Education and Labor Committee will be led by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) with Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

North Carolina appears to be headed toward a do-over election in its Ninth Congressional District due to claims of electoral fraud. This may put Rep-elect Mark Harris’ (R-NC) position in jeopardy in what was a relatively tight race.

The House is not scheduled to return to session until the evening of Wednesday December 19, at which point nearly all focus will be on a funding agreement. Congressional Republicans are also working to push through another round of tax cuts before Democrats take control of the House in January.

Administration

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is set to be replaced at the start of the new year by the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget/Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, Mick Mulvaney.

Resolutions
House Resolution 15 (H.Res. 15)
Status: Introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Co-sponsors: 259 (185 Democrats – 74 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: 248 (181 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: 232 (179 Democrats – 53 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: 240 (184 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: 52 (45 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.

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