House Inaction Brings USPS To Brink of Default – Again

(09/28/12) House inaction to resolve the congressionally-manufactured USPS financial crisis has brought the Postal Service to the brink of default for the second time in two months, President Cliff Guffey is warning APWU members.

The USPS has announced that, “absent legislative action,” it will be unable to make a $5.6 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury to prefund future retiree health benefits on Sept. 30.

As was the case with the prefunding payment that was due August 1, “the failure to make the payment will have no immediate impact on mail delivery or employees’ pay,” Guffey said.

“House Republican leaders have recessed until after the elections in November, and have abandoned their responsibility to address the USPS crisis,” said Guffey. “Their failure demonstrates once again how crucial it is to change the political dynamic in our country.”

“APWU members must help take control of the House from extremists who seek to destroy the USPS,” Guffey said. “Union members must vote in November, and they must be actively involved in the run-up to the election encouraging their families, friends and neighbors to do the same.”

The Senate passed a bipartisan postal reform bill in April, but legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) that would destroy the Postal Service as we know it has stalled. Postal unions and our allies spent much of the past year opposing Rep. Issa’s bill and pushing alternative legislation that would relieve the Postal Service of the onerous pre-funding requirement and return overpayments made by the Postal Service into its pension accounts.

With Congress in recess until after the November elections, there is a danger that Rep. Issa and other House Republicans will attempt to attach provisions of his bill to a must-pass funding measure during the lame-duck session that will occur between Election Day and the inauguration of the new Congress in January.

The “must-pass” legislation is intended to avoid automatic across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.

“APWU members must remain vigilant during the lame-duck session and be prepared to put the necessary pressure on Congress to prevent anti-postal legislation from being inserted into the funding bill,” Guffey warned