Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Week in Review (January 7-11)

The House and Senate were in session this week with many lawmakers working to find a way to end the partial government shutdown. Having entered its 21st day on Friday, the partial shutdown is now tied for the longest in history and will very likely break that record come Saturday. This is the third shutdown under President Trump and directly impacts some 800,000 federal employees.

Resolutions

House lawmakers reintroduced two of NALC’s priority resolutions since the start of the 116th Congress while the remaining resolutions are in the process of being introduced. NALC encourages all letter carriers to contact their Member of Congress to cosponsor these resolutions.

With such high turnover from the 2019 midterms however, many supporters of NALC’s resolutions did not return in January. This means that many letter carriers’ representatives are one of the 121 freshmen who may need to be educated on our issues. If your Member is a freshman, take the time to research him or her and learn a few things about their background before you reach out.

House Resolution 23 (H.Res. 23)
Status: Introduced by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
Co-sponsors: 3 (1 Democrat – 2 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 33 (H.Res. 33)
Status: Introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
Co-sponsors: 3 (12 Democrat – 6 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.

House & Senate Activity/Shutdown

House Democrats made efforts to reopen the shuttered government departments and agencies this week. On Wednesday, the House voted 240-188 to pass a Financial Services appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2019; on Thursday, they voted 244-180 to pass a Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill and 243-183 to pass an Agriculture appropriations bill; and on Friday, they voted 240-179 to pass a bill on the Interior and Environment. While the legislation was mostly split down party lines, with House Democrats voting overwhelmingly in favor of funding and none against it, each bill did receive some Republican support. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on Friday that the chamber will take up more spending bills next week.

On Friday, the House voted 411-7 to send Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 (S. 24) to the President. The Senate unanimously passed the bill the day before, which would provide compensation to federal employees who were furloughed or forced to work without pay during the partial shutdown. Having stated many times that he would not bring a bill to the Senate floor that did not have the President’s support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated that he believes the President will sign the bill when he receives it.

Senate Republicans also put forward legislation on Friday in an apparent effort to prevent future crises such as the current partial shutdown. The End Government Shutdowns Act was introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and would create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) starting October 1 to keep the government open when budget negotiations surpass spending deadlines. After the 120 days, CR funding would be reduced by one percent and then one percent again every 90 days thereafter, until funding is approved. Similar legislation was introduced in the 115th Congress but failed to progress.

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