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House Committee Holds Hearing on Postal Reform

Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform (COR) held a hearing to discuss postal reform efforts in the 117th Congress. The hearing was also an opportunity for members of Congress to question witnesses on a variety of topics, including: recent service disruptions; the pandemic and its impact on the workforce; concerns regarding the quality of Postal Service leadership; and the USPS’s yet-to-be-announced 10-year business plan that has been under development for months.

Witnesses testifying at the hearing included United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors (BOG) Chairman Ron Bloom, USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb, American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President Mark Dimondstein, President/CEO of Quad Graphics Joel Quadracci, and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Resident Scholar Kevin Kosar. 

On the issue of postal reform, a “discussion draft” of a bill was made public just before the hearing. It includes adoption of the USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 695), which would repeal the mandate to prefund retiree health benefits, and a proposal to reform postal employee health insurance coverage under FEHBP to integrate it on prospective basis with the Medicare Program, thereby slashing health care premiums for the Postal Service, its employees and its annuitants and reducing the burden on the postal Retiree Health Fund.  In addition, in order to address ongoing service quality issues, the draft would impose new transparency requirements to improve reporting on service performance and require progress reports to Congress on efforts to improve service. NALC is currently reviewing the draft document and will report on its details in the days and weeks ahead.

The hearing was tense at times with pointed questions and comments directed to both the PMG and BOG Chairman regarding operational changes and service disruptions that have continued since last summer. However, Committee members also focused on the need to finally repeal the mandate to prefund retiree health benefits as part of a broader reform measure. The inclusion of repeal would be a major victory for NALC. As letter carriers recall, the USPS Fairness Act passed the House with a strong, bipartisan majority last year, paving the way for its inclusion in this year’s postal reform efforts.

Over the course of the hearing, the discussion over the basic elements of a reform bill were largely positive and bipartisan with COR Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) committing to support the underlying elements of the bill, while citing the need for additional structural and cost-cutting reforms. In addition, each witness expressed general support of the core provisions of the discussion draft.

NALC President Fredric Rolando submitted a statement for the record to the committee following the hearing.

The discussion draft is expected to be fine-tuned in the coming weeks prior to introduction and NALC is working directly with the Committee to ensure that our feedback is incorporated prior to its formal introduction.