Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congressional week in review June 25-29

The House and Senate adjourned for their Independence Day district work period and will return to Washington on July 9. While the Senate is expected to remain for the summer, the House plans to stay until July 26 and could depart a week early to return to their districts to campaign given the uncertainty of the upcoming election.

House and Senate Activity

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) held a hearing on Wednesday regarding the federal reorganization plan from the Office of Management and Budget, which includes a proposal to privatize USPS. A number of committee members expressed their concern, skepticism, and displeasure with the proposals. They noted the White House did not reach out to members who had passed a postal reform bill out of committee unanimously last year; that the plan for postal privatization came out before the Postal Task Force’s recommendations; and that they failed to acknowledge the onerous pre-funding liability that accounts for 92 percent of losses since 2007 when citing postal finances as reasons for overhaul and privatization.

The House attempted to find a solution to immigration issues, but failed to advance the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 (H.R. 6136) in a 121-301 vote with 112 Republicans joining the entire Democratic delegation.

The Senate continued its work on fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations, advancing the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act (H.R. 5895), which now proceeds to conference committee.

The Senate also passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also known as the Farm Bill, which also proceeds to conference committee.

Supreme Court Activity

In a narrow 5-4 decision Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in a case called Janus vs. AFSCME that public sector unions may no longer assess so-called agency fees, the payment required of non-union members to cover the cost of collective-bargaining services. In so doing, the Court overturned longstanding precedent and adopted a radical reading of the First Amendment pushed by anti-union forces. NALC issued a statement viewable here.

When Congress returns, they are expected to continue work on must-pass legislation including the 2018 Farm Bill, a conference around the National Defense Appropriations Act, more fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills, immigration measures, and potential nominee hearings.

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