U.S. House panel to take up Postal Service reform measures

By David Shepardson – May 10, 2021
The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday will consider a pair of bills to reform the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, a document seen by Reuters shows.

Representative Carolyn Maloney, the Democrat who chairs the panel, circulated draft legislation earlier this year to address some key USPS financial issues.

It would eliminate a requirement for USPS to pre-fund retiree health benefits and would require postal employees to enroll in the Medicare government-retiree health plan. The measures would save USPS $40 billion to $50 billion over 10 years.

Maloney said in February that Congress needed to pass reforms “to put the Postal Service on more sustainable financial footing for years to come.”

The committee did not immediately release the text of the planned reform bills on Monday.

USPS did not immediately comment on Monday.

The Postal Service has struggled with poor delivery performance over the past year, facing a huge boost in packages and COVID-19 staffing issues.

In March, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy proposed a 10-year strategic plan that would eliminate $160 billion in forecasted red ink by slowing some mail deliveries, cutting some retail hours and closing some locations.

DeJoy told Reuters in March that action was urgently needed: “We’re losing $10 billion a year – gotta fix it.”

Separately, Maloney and other Democrats have drafted a letter seen by Reuters in support of potentially $8 billion in an infrastructure bill “to enable the Postal Service to purchase an all-electric delivery fleet and the needed infrastructure to support that fleet.”

The letter also calls for requiring that “at least 75% of the Postal Service’s new fleet must be electric or zero-emission” and for USPS to “acquire only electric or zero-emission vehicles after 2040.”

USPS wants President Joe Biden’s administration to calculate pension obligations using “modern actuarial principles” that would save a further $12 billion.

USPS has reported net losses of $86.7 billion since 2007. One reason is 2006 legislation mandating that it pre-fund more than $120 billion in retiree healthcare and pension liabilities, a requirement that labor unions have called an unfair burden not shared by other businesses.

Source: Reuters

4 thoughts on “U.S. House panel to take up Postal Service reform measures

  1. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Utica Area Local
    Office held, if any
    Email Address

    Too many questions. Not enough answers. Here’s the $64,000 dollar question. If as APWU Leaders in harmony with USPS that billions will be saved, who is going to be on the other side of that. Some are arguing that Medicare is looking at a $9 billion per year hit . Here’s a prediction. FEHB premiums go down a little bit. Medicare premiums go through the roof. FEHB Insurers such as United Health Care (APWU PLAN) reap huge windfall.
    All starting get clearer now.

  2. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU – Oakland, CA
    Email Address

    So true, and I believe many of our members may be harmed by being forced into Medicare. I selected the APWU High Option and Medicare when I returned 65 but that doesn’t work for everyone. The FEHB plans are considered as part of the best offered: a fee for service plan that does not limit your choice of doctors. If you like sitting on the phone arguing with an insurance clerk over whether a procedure is approved, there’s plenty of choices. For me, I will fight for “hand’s off our health plans.”

  3. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    Rochester , NY Area Local 215
    Office held, if any
    President Emeritus
    Email Address

    With a bill pending in Congress we continue to have a total lack of information regarding actual costs and benefits. Though we know the cost of Medicare Part B, what will be the cost of a non-FEHB Postal Plan? The Benefits? Will APWU negotiations on health care premium costs be part of negotiations under Article 21 of the CBA for a non-FEHB Postal Plan for retirees? Will costs and benefits be changed annually and will there be any limitations on changes to costs and benefits? Will OPM still govern cost and benefit changes? If one cannot return to FEHB, will there be any options for open season? To pass such legislation without knowing the answers to such questions requires a faith I do not have, especially when it comes to Postal management.

  4. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Philadelphia, PA Area Local
    Office held, if any
    Retiree Activist and Advocate
    Email Address

    The postal unions and Congress are hell-bent on taking away FEHB from Retirees and forcing them on to Medicare. That wasn’t the terms of employment. That wasn’t the deal! Medicare has always been an option and that’s the way it should remain. There are other ways to fix USPS’s finances but as long as our unions side with bullshit like this from Rep Maloney, it’s probably going to come up for a vote. Please contact your representatives and tell them to keep their f**king hands off our earned and promised benefits!!

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