Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House passes spending bill maintaining six-day provision

The House has voted 239-185 to approve a $21.7 billion Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government (H.R. 5485) spending package, which cuts spending at more than two dozen agencies.

In another major victory for the NALC, the measure preserved longstanding language continuing six-day mail delivery, for which NALC members have lobbied throughout the 114th Congress and have fought for in previous Congress’ when there was pressure to reduce delivery frequency to five days a week.

“Letter carriers have been working tirelessly to change the hearts and minds of lawmakers who once sought to diminish six-day mail delivery,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “They should be extremely proud of their hard work and the impact it’s had on this year’s appropriations process.”

The approproiations bill includes cuts of $1.5 billion, 6 percent, compared to last year. The agencies with the largest cuts include the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), whose funding would fall to the lowest level since 2008, and a large decrease for the General Services Administration (GSA).

Specifically, the bill would cut IRS spending by $236 million, to $11 billion; the SEC’s appropriation would be reduced by $50 million, to $1.56 billion; and the Federal Communications Commission would receive $69 million less—down to $315 million. The GSA’s building fund would decline by $950 million, to $9.2 billion, potentially halting the proposed consolidation of FBI offices in the Washington, DC, area.

During floor consideration of the bill Wednesday evening, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) raised a “point-of-order” to strip out an amendment (unanimously adopted by the House Committee on Appropriations on June 15) that would restore USPS’ service standards to those in effect on July 1, 2012. Since that language is not contained in the House-passed bill or in the Senate bill (S. 3067), the service standards will not be addressed through the appropriations process this fiscal year.

Prior to floor consideration, an amendment offered by Reps. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) was offered to ban any funds for implementing the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Rule 30e-3, which would eliminate paper delivery of investment funds information for investors. Ultimately, the amendment was not accepted by the House Committee on Rules.

What’s next for appropriations: While four of 12 appropriations bill have been passed by the House and three in the Senate, and with only one week left until members of the House and Senate depart Washington until September, there is some discussion on Capitol Hill about passing a six-month continuing resolution (CR), which would last until March of 2017 and effectively end the appropriations process for the year.

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