Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House subcommittee's appropriations bill preserves six-day mail language

On June 29, the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) passed an appropriations measure for Fiscal Year 2018 today. Of particular note for letter carriers is the committee’s decision to uphold the long-standing tradition of recognizing the importance of continuing six-day mail delivery by including language in the bill stating that “6-day and rural delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level,” and that “none of the funds provided in this Act shall be used to consolidate or close small rural and other small postal offices.”

Prior to the markup, a joint NALC-NRLCA letter was sent to House leaders, urging the inclusion of the six-day mail delivery provision in the proposed FSGG appropriations bill.

Last year, when the full Appropriations Committee considered similar budget legislation, lawmakers also included amendments to restore service standards to pre-July 2012 levels. It’s unclear whether the same efforts will take place when the full committee considers the measure in the coming weeks.

Just a few years ago, we were fighting to get this language included in an appropriations bill,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. "While it appears that appropriators are ready to preserve the language throughout the process, we cannot take anything for granted, especially when the full committee meets to consider the bill."

The FSGG appropriations package also includes an increased salary budget for the Postal Regulatory Commission to cover the costs of PRC’s staff increase ahead of its rate-setting review next year.

Besides the Postal Service, FSGG has jurisdiction over agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, the Judiciary, the Small Businesses Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the District of Columbia. This broad jurisdiction can often fuel partisan funding battles.

Traditionally, the appropriations process is kicked off with a guiding budget resolution that serves as a blueprint for the 12 individual appropriations measures considered each fiscal year. This year, however, House Republicans were unable to pass such a guiding resolution, opting instead to move forward without providing each subcommittee with individualized spending caps that would allow the subcommittees to determine their spending priorities. This strategy has created difficulties and tension as the appropriations process advances.

FSGG’s legislation calls for $20.231 billion in funding, reflecting a $1.284 billion decrease below the FY 2017 funding level and $2.483 billion below President Donald Trump’s budget request.

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