The subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia marked up H.R. 22 today and passed it by a unanimous vote. This legislation will allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants’ health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund.I commend the hundreds of letter carriers, state presidents and congressional district liaisons (CDLs) who worked tirelessly, both here in Washington and back at home, to bring us the 337 co-sponsors of this bill. No other pending legislation in Congress has as many cosponsors and such bipartisan support.
For purely technical reasons, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “scored” the bill, which means they gave it a projected cost of about $12 billion, even though the bill does not require any taxpayer funds. Nonetheless, this was a threat to passage on the floor due to the “pay-go” rules currently enforced in the House.
With major input from the NALC and with the leadership of Committee Chairman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Full Committee Chairman Ed Towns (D-NY), an amended version of the bill was crafted, which shortens the relief from eight years to three years in order to reduce the score and improve the chances of House passage. Full Committee Ranking Member Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) were also instrumental in the passage of the amended bill.
We worked hand-in-hand with the bill’s original authors, Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), both longtime friends and advocates for letter carriers. Although the bill falls short of what was originally intended, we stand firm in our support for H.R. 22 as amended and will continue to work diligently to pass this bill in full committee and to send it to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
When there is an opportunity in the future through other legislative vehicles to strengthen the Postal Service, we will pursue them. However, at this time, I want to thank the above-mentioned committee leadership as well as the other members of the subcommittee who took the first step in advancing this very important bill. I will keep you posted on the progress of this legislation. I ask that you continue to thank all the original co-sponsors of the bill and impress upon them the importance of sticking with us as we approach floor action in the House of Representatives.
My sincere thanks again to all of those who worked with us to help protect the future of all letter carriers and the United States Postal Service.
In Solidarity, William H. Young, President