Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Government funding deadline approaches under new house leadership

One month into his new position as Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has only days to address how to fund the government beyond Dec. 11.

Negotiations over a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill for FY 2016, begun on Oct. 1, must be adopted by the House and Senate by Dec. 11. If the House and Senate fail to reach an agreement, lawmakers will be required to advance a continuing resolution (CR) or face another shutdown, which last happened in 2011. Both sides of the aisle contend that the neither want or expect to see a shutdown.

Under pressure from his party, Ryan must contend with demands from within his party over tighter screening of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, repealing the Affordable Care Act and ongoing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. In addition, several provisions dealing with financial and workplace regulations remain contentious. Some discussion has surrounded incorporation of outside legislation that could be attached to the omnibus, such as changes to the visa waiver program, tax extenders, removal of the oil export ban and a renewal of health care programs for first responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

House Republican leaders are looking at a potential extension through Dec. 18 to give the House more time to work on a compromise package. President Obama initially stated that he would not sign another temporary funding bill beyond Dec. 11 but has since signaled being open to a stopgap measure that lasts a few days.

In the last month, Congress has adopted a multi-year reauthorization of the federal highway program and has reauthorized a major federal education law. However, there are several other issues pending action, including yet another attempt to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act and an effort to renew several expiring tax breaks. In dealing with these, Ryan must contend with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of nearly 40 no-compromise conservatives who prompted changes inside of House Republican leadership and who have blocked the ability for House leaders to move numerous pieces of legislation.

Return to Legislative Updates


The free NALC apps for smartphones provide convenient access to tools and information about issues affecting active and retired letter carriers. Information on downloading and using the apps is in our apps section.