Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House Passes Heroes Act, Includes Postal Relief

Today, the House passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or “HEROES” Act (H.R. 6800), a fourth relief package by a vote of 208-199. 

The $3 trillion package contains many provisions and measures, (read more here).

With regard to the Postal Service, 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. Also included in the package is the creation of 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.

Senate Republican leaders flatly rejected the overall measure from the House and, as it relates to the postal-specific provisions, have decided to take 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.

As the House and Senate negotiate a path forward, including the issue of providing financial relief to the Postal Service, the elephant in the room is the overwhelming public perception that the Postal Service has had a positive effect during the pandemic. The Harris Poll recently found that SPS ranked No.  1 among corporate entities that “played a truly essential role during the crisis,” beating out UPS, Amazon, Walmart and Purell and all others.

Negotiations on the next package will require the Senate to make its positions clear on other pandemic-related provisions contained in the HEROES Act as well, including the other postal measures, the absence of an enforceable national safety standard from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the preservation of health coverage for people at risk of losing their employer-provided health insurance, an extension of unemployment benefits and the shoring up of our nation’s voting systems. The voting systems need assistance, as recent state primaries have shown problems in guaranteeing that voters can safely exercise their constitutional right to vote amid this pandemic.

Senate Republican leaders have repeatedly stated that any action will wait until the end of the month, asserting that they want to know both how the $3 trillion spent thus far is being used and how additional relief will be paid for. Negotiations between the House and Senate to put together the next package will take place on an abbreviated timeline, likely from July 20 to Aug. 7. Meanwhile, NALC’s outreach continues.


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