NAPO response to Presidential Election
Reprinted from the The Newsletter of the National Association of Police Organizations, November 15, 2016
On November 8th, Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th President of the United States. Here is an outlook of what the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress will look like for the law enforcement community based on the policies and statements issued by Mr. Trump during the campaign. NAPO looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and his administration and Congressional leadership to make the 115th Congress successful for the priorities of our members and the law enforcement community.
The Trump Administration and the 115th Congress
Mr. Trump made clear during his campaign that he is the law and order candidate and he expressed his support numerous times for the law enforcement community. NAPO believes that his administration will be supportive of our efforts to increase penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers and to increase officer protections, including creating a new federal crime for the killing, attempted killing, or conspiring to kill a public safety officer. Further, if we are not able to accomplish it this year, we believe that the Trump Administration will work with us to repeal President Obama’s executive order restricting state and local law enforcement’s access to surplus military equipment (the “1033” program).
In addition to pro-law enforcement policies, Mr. Trump has promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), including the excise (“Cadillac”) tax on employer-sponsored health plans. NAPO fought for and won a two year delay of the “Cadillac tax” at the end of 2015 and it is a top priority of ours to repeal the tax, which would have a detrimental impact on our members health benefit plans. Mr. Trump’s proposed healthcare policy also includes significant support for expanding the use of health savings accounts, another priority issue for our members. NAPO will work with President Trump, his administration and Congress to ensure that the “Cadillac tax” is fully repealed as soon as possible and we will support efforts to expand health savings accounts and flexible spending arrangements.
These are several examples of NAPO’s priorities that we are confident we can work with President Trump to accomplish. The issue area where we will face our biggest hurdles is labor policy. During his campaign, he has promised to nominate a conservative Supreme Court justice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. It is more likely than not that any justice President Trump nominates will vote to overturn state laws requiring non-union workers to pay “fair share” fees into the public-employee unions to cover collective bargaining costs. Further, with Mr. Trump an establishment outsider and successful businessman, it is expected that he will fill many of his cabinet positions and political appointments with CEOs and individuals with strong management ties.
Some of NAPO’s labor and employee benefit priorities face an uphill battle in Congress as well. Republicans have maintained control of both the House and Senate, with Democrats only picking up one Senate seat and a few House seats. Our push to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) faces an uphill battle as do our efforts to protect state and local governmental pension plans. These may be the big fights we face in the 115th Congress.
That being said, many of NAPO’s other priorities are heavily supported by Republicans or are bipartisan issues. We hope to have success with the repeal of the “Cadillac Tax” and the passage of the Thin Blue Line Act and the Back the Blue Act. We also believe that there will be continued, but limited, support for the funding of state and local law enforcement grant programs, including the COPS Hiring Program, the Bryne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) Program and the Bulletproof Vest Partnerhip Grant Program. While we do not feel that funding for these programs will increase under the Trump Admnistration, we will work with Congress and President Trump to ensure support for these vital programs continues.
End of the 114th Congress, Lame Duck Session
Congress returned to work on November 14th and the one thing lawmakers must do is pass the fiscal 2017 spending bills by December 9th to avoid a government shutdown. Spending talks are ongoing and House and Senate leadership have not yet agreed on how to pass the remaining 11 spending bills. There is some talk of passing a continuing resolution – which funds the government at the current levels – and punting the final decisions for fiscal 2017 into Spring of next year. This would mean that Congress is deciding on the final fiscal 2017 appropriations at the same time as fiscal 2018 and moving on President-elect Trump’s top legislative priorities. NAPO believes that this would be detrimental to our priority grant programs and we are urging Congress to finalize fiscal 2017 appropriations before the end of the year.
Congress is not expected to take action on any appropriations measures until after Thanksgiving. This may mean there is a possibility for other bills to move while the appropriations negotiations continue, but there is not much time. One bill that Congress is expected to take up during the lame duck session is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). NAPO has been working closely with members of both parties on the NDAA to ensure the final legislation includes a provision supporting state and local law enforcement’s right to full access to surplus military equipment. While the provision will not reverse the executive order, it will ameliorate some of its harmful consequences, and it will lay the groundwork for the Trump Administration to repeal the executive order in its entirety.
NAPO will also be working to move the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program (PSOB) Improvement Act (S. 2944 / H.R. 5743), the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act, and the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act – all bipartisan bills that are supported by House and Senate leadership – before the end of session. Our ability to move these bills depends on how Congressional leadership decides to move on appropriations before Congress is expected to recess for the end of the year on December 16th.
NAPO is hopeful that as President, Mr. Trump will support the criminal justice needs of the law enforcement community, while at least being willing to listen on labor and working condition issues. NAPO is committed to working with his presidential transition team and his administration on the priority issues facing rank-and-file law enforcement today.
If you should have any questions or concerns about the upcoming transition, please contact the NAPO office at any time to speak with Executive Director Bill Johnson or Director of Governmental Affairs Andy Edmiston.
NAPO Attends Public Sector HealthCare Roundtable Conference
NAPO participated in the Public Sector HealthCare Roundtable’s Annual Conference held in Old Town Alexandria November 3rd. The HealthCare Roundtable is a national coalition of public sector health care purchasers whose purpose is to ensure that the interests of the public sector are properly represented in federal health care reform policies and initiatives. NAPO works with the HealthCare Roundtable as part of the Public Pension Network and the Roundtable is an integral participant in our work to reform the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and to fight against the unfair consequences of the imposition of the excise (“Cadillac”) tax on employees’ healthcare benefits.
Of particular interest to NAPO were the presentations on the possible future of the Affordable Care Act in 2017 and beyond; bicameral, bipartisan prospects for health reform in 2017; and whether to repeal or reform the “Cadillac” tax and the prospects of addressing the tax in 2017. Given the broad bipartisan support for delaying the tax last year and the outcome of the election, it seems that there is a route to repeal it or at the very least ensure that it does not adversely impact public sector health care plans.
NAPO will keep our members informed on the status of the “Cadillac” tax and the efforts of our coalition with the Public Pension Network and the HealthCare Roundtable to fight it. If you have any question about our work with the HealthCare Roundtable, please contact Andy Edmiston at email@example.com.
Your Nominations Make the Difference for TOP COPS®
This year marks the 24th year NAPO has produced the TOP COPS Awards®. The awards dinner will take place on Friday, May 12, 2017, again coinciding with Police Week. The TOP COPS Awards Dinner will be at the Omni Shoreham Hotel located in Washington, D.C. Over the next few months we will be asking for your assistance in three major areas in which you, our members, can help to ensure the success of TOP COPS®: nominations, sponsorships, and show attendance. Today, we want to ask for your assistance with the first and most fundamental component, nominations.
TOP COPS® is unique in that it is a peer nominated award. However, one of the greatest struggles we have faced in the past is getting the nomination form out to officers nationwide. We are asking you to assist us in making this happen. It is our goal this year to see all 50 states represented with a nominee. While we appreciate and welcome nominations from the executive level, we would really like to see the nomination form circulated among your members.
The nomination form an be downloaded from the NAPO website, http://www.napo.org/files/5814/5583/4244/NominationForm2017.pdf. Please feel free to duplicate and post it anywhere you feel it is appropriate. We would especially like to see forms posted in association offices and departments with the hope that your members will feel inclined to nominate the great cases/officers they have come into contact with over the past year. We would also like to ask you to consider including the nomination form in your association publication, on your website, or as a hand out at your next meeting.
If you have other thoughts or ideas as to how to get the word out about this most worthwhile event, please contact Elizabeth Loranger at firstname.lastname@example.org. With your help and partnership, we know that TOP COPS® will be a tremendous success!
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