Government affairs

Legislative Updates

ISSA ANNOUNCES NEW POSTAL ‘COMPROMISE’ BILL

As a result of last month’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing regarding the administrations FY2015 budget proposal, this week, committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced his intention to mark-up another postal bill, dubbed the “the Administration’s Postal Proposal Act of 2015.” Issa claims that this proposal is his “attempt to reach bipartisan consensus on a postal reform package.” However, indicating a clear lack of the support from both sides of the aisle, action on the bill was postponed just hours before the scheduled mark-up.

Issa’s new bill, like his previous bill (H.R. 2748), calls for the elimination of Saturday mail deliver for all business and residential customers and an end to door-to-door delivery for millions of businesses, and it encourages voluntary elimination of door-to-door delivery for 35 million to 40 million households. In addition, the new legislation would require the Postal Service to pay half of the pre-funding costs required in 2015 and 2016 equaling $2.85 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively. This new bill also calls for the use of postal-specific assumptions to calculate the surplus in the postal account under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) and allows for a one-time FERS pension surplus refund. It also would enable the Postal Service to enter into leasing agreements with local, state and tribal governments, and it would make permanent the current exigent rate as of January 23, 2014 for market-dominant products.

The NALC, along with the other postal unions, lobbied aggressively against this proposal and sent a letter to lawmakers warning them of the bills implications. NALC activists mobilized to voice letter carriers’ objections to this alleged compromise. The mailing community also voiced its objections to the legislation because of its exigent rate-setting. In response, activity on this so-called “compromise” bill has been shelved, leaving an unclear path forward for this bill and for H.R. 2748, which seems to have met a similar fate, having seen no activity since last year.

Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has indicated that any postal reform bill should have bipartisan support. “I sincerely hope that we will be able to adopt a consensus bill that every member of our committee can support,” he said.

“This latest failed attempt at postal reform was nothing more than a bad stunt aimed at driving a divide among Democrats, Republicans and the administration.” said NALC President Fred Rolando. “Letter carriers, customers and the country deserve more. With the Postal Service now operationally profitable, any bill that diminishes service to the public and to businesses will stop the postal turnaround in its tracks by driving mail and revenue out of the system.”

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