NAPUS: Time Runs Out on Short Term Postal Fix

eNAPUS Legislative and Political Bulletin

As the days before the election recess ebbs, partisan politics seems to be overtaking Congress’ ability to permit the Postal Service to defer the $5.6 billion payment into the Postal Retiree Health Benefits Fund. The plan was to attach the deferment onto a must-pass stop-gap appropriations bill that needs to be signed into law by September 30. The bill, a “Continuing Resolution”, is being pieced together by the House and Senate Leadership and may come up for a vote within the next 24-48 hours.

House Postal Subcommittee Chairman Steve Lynch (D-MA) and Senate Postal Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) sent letters to their respective Appropriations Committee Chairs requesting that the postal deferment provision be included in the Continuing Resolution. A number of other provisions were also supposed to be included in the measure, including funding for PELL grants, funding to implement portions of the new health care and financial services overhaul laws, and foreign aid. The problem with the add-ons, which include the Postal provision, resides primarily in the Senate, because the Senate needs a super-majority of 60 votes to bring up the Continuing Resolution and the GOP have demanded that Democrats keep the measure “clean”, without extraneous provisions.

As we went to press, the postal provision did not appear to be included in the Continuing Resolution. Nevertheless, the Postal Service has indicated that it will be able to make the required contribution to the retiree health fund on September 30, and will be able to fund its operations.

Also read eNAPUS Legislative and Political Bulletin: Sen. Carper Introduces Pension Correction Legislation, Which Includes USPS Wish List