Congressman Issa’s interim postal reform bill requests 5-Day Delivery, ban layoff protection

Congressman Darrell Issa has asked President Barack Obama to consider an “interim postal reform bill” during the lame-duck session. In a letter dated September 7, 2012, Issa wrote:

In mid-September, the House and Senate will be in session for a short time in order toa continuing resolution that will fund the government th.rough the first six months of the coming fiscal year. Although there are ongoing discussions among legislators and stakeholders concerning how to move a full postal reform package forward, it is unlikely that a final comprehensive agreement could be negotiated between both chambers in that narrow time frame in September. The post-election lame duck session will provide a much greater window of opportunity to enact legislation to restore the postal service to solvency.

I therefore write to request that the continuing resolution proposal you submit to Congress for consideration include an interim reform package that addresses the default and lays the groundwork for furth er reform. Two of the provisions I am requesting were included in both your September 20 II “President ‘s Plan for Economic and Deficit Reduction” and the fiscal year 20 13 budget you submitted to Congress earlier this year.

Specifically, I request you propose the following reform package be included in the CR:

I. A reamortization of the remaining payment schedule for retiree health care benefits, using the plan you put forth in your fiscal year 2013 budget, which will not write down the liability as proposed in S. 1789, but will instead defer near-term payments until USPS is able to implement cost-cutting reforms.

2. A removal of the Congressionally-imposed restriction that prevents USPS from going to 5-day delivery. On mUltiple occasions you have proposed to allow the Postal Service to shift to a fi ve-day mail delivery schedule by January 1, 201 3, and I agree with you that it is necessary that the Postmaster General be granted thi s authority. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this change could save USPS $2.5 billion per year. All recent polling data indicates the public understands the challenges facing the Postal Service and majorities of 70 percent or more support going to a five -day delivery schedule as a way to help save the historic institution.

3. A prospective ban that prevents federal agencies, including USPS, from entering into no- layoff agreements with their employees. It is vital that our government be able to scale both up and down its employment as the need for such employment changes. Even our service members enjoy no special protection against force reductions in
light of decreasing need.

These three provisions alone will not fully restore the Postal Service to solvency. But together they comprise a meaningful step in that direction, that encompasses wide areas of bipartisan agreement. They address the reality of a federal agency’s default, and they help move the overall goal of comprehensive postal reform forward.