Today, Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the USPS Fairness Act (S. 2965), a bill to repeal the mandate to prefund postal retiree health benefits. The bill is identical to House legislation (H.R. 2382), which was introduced earlier this year and has the support of a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives. With the introduction of a Senate companion, there is now demonstrated bipartisan and bicameral support for repealing the mandate.
As letter carriers know, repealing the mandate to pre-fund retiree health remains at the top of NALC’s legislative agenda. The mandate, which no other company faces, is responsible for 90 percent of the financial losses incurred by the Postal Service since 2007.
Pre-funding repeal is a key to achieving postal reform in the future. It will free USPS to invest in its infrastructure, and better utilize its vast networks to further serve business and residential customers.
In the House, H.R. 2382 continues to gain bipartisan momentum and has surpassed the “House Consensus Calendar” threshold of 290 cosponsors, which means that the bill can now be placed in the queue for a House floor vote. Under House rules, once a bill is placed in this queue, the Committee of jurisdiction (in this case the Committee on Oversight and Reform) has 25 business days to take action on the measure. If no action is taken, the bill becomes eligible for a floor vote. As of today, the House bill officially has 294 cosponsors (including 233 Democrats and 61 Republicans), though in actuality that number is 292 cosponsors (232 Democrats and 60 Republicans) due to the resignations of Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY) and Katie Hill (D-CA).
“Letter carriers should be proud of the work we have done to garner support for this very important bill, but we cannot let up,” said NALC President Fredric V. Rolando. “I encourage every letter carrier to thank their members of Congress who have supported the House bill and ask them to urge House leadership to do what is necessary to enact this critical legislation into law. If your member of Congress has not cosponsored this bill, please ask them to cosponsor it.”
While our focus remains on increasing the number of cosponsors on the House bill, we will provide more information on what NALC members can do to build support on the Senate bill in the near future.