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National Office Week in Review: February 1, 2017

A publication of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association

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GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE The House and Senate are in session the week of Jan . 30. As a reminder, Congress has a jam - packed schedule this year and it will be full of legislative activity. UPDATE ON HIRING FREEZE EXECUTIVE ORDER As you know, o n Jan. 23, President Trump issued an executive order instituting a hiring freeze for federal civil ian employees, effective Jan. 22, 2017. The order permits exceptions to the freeze in very limited circumstanc es. NATCA will be making the case with the Administration and members of Congress that our members' positions should be exempted from the freeze. Please refer to membership messages from NATCA President Paul Rinaldi and EVP Trish Gilbert for the latest upd ates. SENATE APPROVES CHAO FOR U.S. DOT On Tuesday, Jan. 31, the Senate approved Elaine Chao to be the next Transportation secretary by a vote of 93 - 6. Click here to read NATCA's press release congratulating Chao on her confirmation. FIVE FAA BILL HEARINGS PLANNED The House Transportation Committee has planned five hearings on reauthorizing the FAA, potentially starting as early as February. These hearings would address each major section of the bill, including funding, certification, drones and air traffic control reform. No dates for the hearings have been scheduled yet, and GA staff will keep you updated as details are forthcoming. APPROPRIATIONS FORECAST The government is currently operating on a stopgap funding measure (P.L. 114 - 254) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 that expires on April 28. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is already p redicting that there will be limited time for consideration of FY 18 appropriations bills this year. The sheer amount of legislative business on the agenda will likely leave little time to complete all 12 regular spending bills needed to fund the governmen t before the start of the new fisca l year on Oct. 1. The Senate calendar is packed with confirmations for Trump's Cabinet nominees and a potential Supreme Court nomination, and controversial issues like the proposed U.S. - Mexico border wall and the travel and refugee executive order could also complicate matters. That means a stopgap or catch - all spending measure is likely. Government Shutdown Threat: Spending fights over funding for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico could lead to the first govern ment shutdown threat of the Trump administration. The likelihood of a shutdown could increase if Republicans attach the language for a border wall to legislation to keep the government open past April 28. FY 18 Budget Deadline : Recent history suggests Pr esident Donald Trump may miss a deadline set in law for submitting a budget request to Congress, which is the first Monday in February. Trump wouldn't be alone in missing the deadline: former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all su bmitted budgets late during their first years as president. While there is no penalty for missing the deadline, the budget sets spending levels in law for the appropriations committees to begin their work on the 12 appropriations bills. This could further complicate and delay work on spending bills.

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