Bipartisan Postal Bill Introduced in Senate

NAPS Leg/Reg Update – November 3, 2011

Four key Democratic and Republican Senate lawmakers on Wednesday announced the introduction of compromise legislation that they say will “save the United States Postal Service from financial disaster and put it on the road toward financial stability.” The bill is The 21st Century Postal Service Act, (S. 1789). For a copy of the bill and other background information, click here.

The bill was introduced by the four Senators with leadership roles for overseeing the Postal Service — Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE), and Ranking Member Senator Scott Brown (R-MA).

The bill is on a fast track for committee approval, with a markup scheduled by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for next Wednesday, November 9. Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins have indicated they plan to submit their legislative proposal to the deficit reduction supercommittee for potential inclusion in that panel’s recommended legislation to Congress, due November 23.

Major Provisions

The 21st Century Postal Service Act would:

* Require OPM to refund $7 billion in overpaid FERS payments to USPS. Those funds may be used by USPS for buyouts to employees to help reduce its workforce. According to USPS, $2 billion in buyouts will help it reduce its workforce by as many as 100,000 employees over the next three years, reaching $8 billion a year in savings.

* Recalibrate the USPS pre-funding requirements for its retiree health benefits by reamortizing those payments over 40 years.

* Authorize USPS to create a new USPS health care plan outside FEHBP, if USPS and all unions agreed to its terms. USPS estimates a new healthcare plan could cut costs roughly in half, while maintaining “adequate” benefits.

* Delay the start-up of five-day-a-week mail delivery for two years if USPS completes studies and develops remedies for customers who may be affected disproportionately by the change in service.

* Expand curbside service through delivery to neighborhood cluster boxes, eliminating door deliveries.

* Overhaul the federal workers comp program, bringing it in line with most state programs and requiring future disabled federal workers upon reaching retirement age to shift from disability to retirement benefits.

House Action

In the House, floor time has not yet been scheduled for a postal bill (H.R. 2309) introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) that would make sweeping and controversial changes to the Postal Service, creating a master control board, closing thousands of post offices and cutting Saturday service. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has proposed a similar version of that bill in the Senate.

Bruce Moyer
Legislative Counsel to NAPS

Comments are closed.