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Legislative Updates

Congressional week in review June 18-22

The House and Senate were in session this past week and will remain so through June 29 next week, before heading home for the Independence Day district work period.

White House Activity

As letter carriers have heard by now, on Thursday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a plan to reorganize the government, including a proposal to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. NALC President Fredric Rolando criticized the move in a statement viewable here.

House and Senate Activity

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY19 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill Thursday with language preserving six-day mail delivery. The means that both chambers have upheld such language, a major win for letter carriers.

On Wednesday, the Senate blocked the White House’s $15 billion rescission package from advancing in a 48-50 vote. Senate Republicans Susan Collins (R-ME) and Richard Burr (R-NC) joined all the Democrats and Independents in voting against the measure. It is unclear if the Senate will attempt another vote.

The Senate also continued its work on FY19 appropriations by passing this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5515, 85-10.

Much of the focus in the House of Representatives was around the now-passed Farm Bill (H.R.2), but members also finished a two-week voting stint on opioid legislation, including H.R. 5788, a bill opposed by NALC and other unions due to its imposition of civil penalties and a stringent AED mandate. The Senate is now expected to take up its version of the bill (S. 3057) in coming weeks. This series of votes culminated with Friday’s passage of H.R. 6, a vehicle for 50 House-passed opioid-related measures.

On Thursday, the House Budget Committee passed the House Republican fiscal year 2019 (FY19) budget resolution out of committee in a party-line 21-13 vote. Similar to last year’s resolution, this year’s includes language with the intent to hurt letter carriers, federal employees, and retirees through cuts to benefits, pay, and basic worker protections. The Senate has yet to release its FY19 budget resolution.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced the House would not vote on the so-called “compromise” immigration bill, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 (H.R. 6136), punting instead to next week.

Next week, both chambers are expected to continue work on appropriations measures with the Senate planning to take up a three-bill spending package (H.R. 5895) that includes Energy and Water Development, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriations; and both the House and Senate marking up their FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education bills.

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