The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon — perhaps as early as Tuesday, Sept. 15 — on legislation that would provide the USPS with short-term relief from severe financial difficulties.
APWU President William Burrus is urging union members to contact their representatives and ask them to support the measure. “We must act quickly,” he said. “Without relief, the USPS will soon run out of money.”
The United States Postal Service Financial Relief Act would permit the agency to pay for future retiree healthcare benefits from a postal retirement fund for Fiscal Year 2009, rather than from its operating budget.
The measure is a substitute for H.R. 22, which would have allowed the USPS to pay for the benefits from the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (PSRHBF) for three years. The requirement to pre-fund the benefits is a provision of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 — an obligation no other federal agency or private business bears. The pre-funding mandate forces the Postal Service to pay more than $5 billion each year for 10 years for future retirees in addition to $2 billion per year for current postal retirees.
While the substitute bill provides less relief than the original version of H.R. 22, its enactment would help the USPS survive the most devastating economic downturn since the Great Depression. The substitute bill was drafted to expedite passage of the measure.
Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid said, “Please act now. It is imperative that we ask our representatives to support the substitute measure.”
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