Postal reform update: A changed political landscape requires a new strategy

NALC – 2/11/17 – Congress returned to business in January to a transformed capitol city. We have a new president and one-party control of the federal government.

Fortunately, postal reform has strong bipartisan support and our goals have not changed. Our strategy, of course, will have to change to reflect the new landscape.

This week, NALC President Fredric Rolando testified before a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on postal reform legislation. The committee’s leaders (including two former sub-committee leaders) have introduced two bills: H.R. 756, the Postal Reform Act of 2017, and H.R. 760, The Postal Service Financial Improvement Act of 2017. We used our testimony to provide suggested improvements to the bills, which may be marked up later this month.  (A mark-up is a committee meeting where members can amend, delete or add provisions to bills under consideration.)

We also urged the committee to adopt the two bills because they contain all the essential elements to achieve our two core goals for postal reform:

  1. a workable resolution of the crushing retiree health pre-funding burden, achieved by maximizing participation in the Medicare program and investing the Retiree Health Fund more sensibly; and
  2. a partial restoration of the exigent rate increase that expired last year, to provide USPS with the revenues needed to stabilize its finances as the Postal Regulatory Commission conducts its 10-year review of the rate-setting system for market-dominant products.

The Oversight Committee’s consideration of H.R. 756, which we hope will be amended to include the provisions of H.R. 760, is just the first step in a very long process. Assuming the bill is approved by the committee, it will be referred to the Congressional Budget Office for a review of its impact on the federal budget (“scoring”). The legislation will also be sent to the two House committees that share jurisdiction over the Medicare program: the Ways and Means Committee for the bill provisions involving Medicare Parts A and B, and the Energy and Commerce Committee for the Medicare prescription drug provisions. Once all the committees have had their say, the bill must go to the floor of the House for debate, amendments and a final vote. Meanwhile, this whole process will have to be repeated in the Senate.

At each stage of the process, NALC will assess the bill and measure our progress toward achieving our goals. At this early stage, we can support advancing H.R. 756 and H.R. 760 through the Oversight Committee. Our goal is to work with our coalition of unions and mailers to keep the process going and make improvements along the way.

Our ultimate objective is to achieve the two core goals described above while protecting our jobs, our rights, our networks (including door delivery, Saturday delivery, etc.) and the interests of all annuitants from any unreasonable hardships caused by the bill’s Medicare provisions.

2 Responses to "Postal reform update: A changed political landscape requires a new strategy"

  1. Disgusted Postal Retiree   February 12, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    This without a doubt was written by a total idiot. Must be one of those hi priced do nothing
    salaried union stooges.

    Our ultimate objections is to achieve the two core goals described above while protecting our jobs, our rights, our networks (including door delivery, Saturday delivery, etc.
    and the interests of all annuitants from any unreasonable hardships caused by the bill’s Medicare provisions.
    When you are being forced to pay into Medicare Part B monthly fees, that previously no postal retiree had to, is not considered a hardship, on a reduced monthly income
    due to retirement. Your inane statements prove that you care nothing at all about the retirees.
    Screw all over them, to save your jobs at the top of the union.

  2. Postal Joe   February 12, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    President Rolando, Once again you come out and praise the Postal Service then you talk about the “CRUSHING HEALTH PREFUNDING BURDEN” , then you’ve got the nerve to talk about “ANY UNREASONABLE HARDSHIPS TO THE RETIREES BY THE MEDICARE PROVISION”! All this after you testify before the House committee and tell them it’s OK to screw the retirees by taking away the health benefits we were promised and worked 30+ years to earn!!! My GOD man are you really that STUPID!!! You really should make up your mind as to which side you’re going to take…either you’re with us (Postal workers and retirees) or against us, you have to grow a pair and take a stand with the people you represent!! It’s either that or go assume the High Profile job that the PMG promised you for TURNING YOUR BACK ON US!! The prefunding is the problem, not the retirees!!!

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