Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Covid-19 Relief Update

Last month, the House approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or “HEROES” Act (H.R. 6800), which included relief for the Postal Service, but unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) flatly rejected any consideration of the measure and has given no indication of his willingness to work toward another relief package, despite continuing Covid-related impact on jobs, the economy, public health and the Postal Service.

As letter carriers recall, the HEROES Act provides $25 billion in direct appropriations to help USPS weather the financial crisis brought on by the pandemic, in addition to the removal of restrictions placed in the CARES Act on the $10 billion in added USPS borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury. The bill also created a ”Heroes Fund,” which would provide hazard or premium pay of $13 per hour premium pay on top of regular wages up to $10,000 for essential front-line workers, including letter carriers and other postal employees.

While energy and momentum and public support are high, unfortunately, some are taking a wait-and-see approach. This was recently confirmed in a June letter from Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI), House Committee on Oversight and Reform (COR) Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) and COR Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-GA), who questioned the Postal Service on its financials during the pandemic in an attempt to downplay its need for financial assistance.

Negotiations on the next package are expected to heat up between July 20 and August 7 and will require the Senate to make its positions clear on its priorities regarding pandemic-related provisions and make clear its interest in funding the Postal Service.

Given the abbreviated timeframe on negotiations, we encourage letter carriers to keep the pressure on both chambers to encourage them to fund the Postal Service in the next relief package. NALC members can take action here.

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