Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congressional Week in Review (November 12-16)

Following midterms, Congress returned this week for the lame-duck session, where it will complete any last-minute work before the 115th Congress concludes and the 116th Congress convenes on January 3, 2019. Both chambers were in session Tuesday through Thursday and will return following Thanksgiving holiday on Monday, November 26.

House Activity

While there were some non-consequential votes in the House this week, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were focused on welcoming newly-elected members and determining leadership.

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to take over once again as Speaker of the House with Steny Hoyer (D-MD) serving as Majority Leader. At press, neither had announced opposition while other posts such as Majority Whip, Assistant Democratic Leader, and Chief Deputy Whip all had a contest among Democrats.

House Republicans, which will become the minority party in the 116th elected their key leadership roles. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was selected as the House Minority Leader and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was selected as the Minority Whip. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was elected as Chair of the Republican Conference and will be the third-ranking House Republican and the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House.

The new Congress will bring close to 100 new members and will be one of the most diverse freshman classes in history. Getting to know these new members and educating them on the issues most important to letter carriers will be a top priority next Congress.

Senate Activity

In the Senate, the focus mostly remained on advancing nominees and discussions regarding leveraging support for nominees by requiring a vote on a bill to protect the Mueller investigation into interference with the 2016 elections.

On particular note, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) advanced the nomination of Michael Kubayanda to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for the remainder of a six-year term expiring November 22, 2020. Following committee passage, Mr. Kubayanda is expected to advance through the Senate by a floor vote or by unanimous consent in the coming weeks.

Aside from legislative business, Senate Republicans and Democrats also held their leadership elections this week. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will remain on as Senate Majority Leader. John Thune (R-SD) was elected Majority Whip, John Barrasso (R-WY) was selected as Conference Chairman and Joni Ernst (R-IA) was selected as Vice Chairwoman.

With regards to Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA) were all selected to continue in their leadership posts as Minority Leader, Minority Whip and Assistant Democratic Leader, respectively.

When the House and Senate return after Thanksgiving break, Congress will have two weeks to agree on funding for Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, and State-Foreign Operations as well as many other agencies that is set to expire on December 7. As letter carriers know, the lame duck session is all about negotiating last minute deals, especially as Congress moves from Republican control to split party control of each chamber. This means that any issue can find its way to the negotiating table. NALC will keep letter carriers posted on any issue that could impact us.

Resolutions

House Resolution 15 (H.Res. 15)
Status: Introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Co-sponsors: 258 (185 Democrats – 73 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: 247 (186 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: 231 (179 Democrats – 52 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: 239 (183 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: 47 (40 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.

*Note: At 47 cosponsors, this resolution is close a majority of support. Check here to see if your Senators have not yet signed onto the resolution. If they have not, NALC encourages all letter carriers to contact their Senators to become cosponsors of this resolution.

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