Statement from NALC President Fred Rolando on President Obama’s deficit plan
Return of FERS surplus, other short-term relief a good start—but not enough
Monday, Sept. 19 — President Obama sent a deficit-reduction package Sept. 19 to the special joint committee of Congress established by the debt limit law to find ways to reduce the federal budget deficit. The package included a number of reforms to address the financial crisis at USPS.
We are both encouraged and disappointed.
We are encouraged that President Obama is attempting to creatively address the USPS cash crisis through the deficit reduction process and welcome his proposal to return the $6.9 billion postal pension surplus in FERS to the Postal Service as proposed in Rep. Stephen Lynch’s H.R. 1351.
But we are very disappointed that the administration opted for a deferral of the next two pre-funding payments ($5.5 billion each) instead of embracing a permanent reform based on the Lynch bill’s recovery of the even larger CSRS surplus. And we deeply regret that the administration has given into pressure from the postmaster general and has proposed to eliminate Saturday mail delivery.
The NALC is carefully examining the various elements of the White House plan. It is important to remember that these are just proposals; they cannot become law unless Congress adopts them. We want to assure our members and all those who are interested in preserving the U.S. Postal Service that we will work with everyone involved, including members of the joint congressional committee, to build a strong Postal Service that will continue to provide exceptional service to the public six days a week.
A full report on President Obama’s proposals as they relate to federal and postal employees will be posted on Tuesday.
From NALC e-Activist:
Chairman Darrell Issa of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has called a subcommittee mark-up of his bill, H.R. 2309, for Wednesday, September 21, at 1:30 p.m. I am writing to ask that you call your member of Congress on the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy (contact information below). Ask him or her to SHOW UP at the mark-up to fight for the survival of the U.S. Postal Service and its customers and employees, and urge him or her to vote NO on the adoption of H.R. 2309, a radical proposal that does nothing to address the immediate financial concerns of the Postal Service. Instead, it seeks to dismantle the USPS, piece by piece.
Drastically downsizing the Postal Service is not the answer, especially when the real cost will be passed on to postal customers throughout the country. H.R. 2309 has only one co-sponsor, while H.R. 1351, a bill with 206 co-sponsors from both parties, goes right to the heart of the problem and offers real solutions for the Postal Service’s financial future without the use of taxpayer money.
H.R. 2309 fails to address the real cause of the postal financial crisis: a congressional mandate that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund future retiree health benefits at a grossly accelerated rate of $5.5 billion a year. No other agency or company faces such a burden. The bill also fails to return tens of billions of dollars in overpayments to the Postal Service’s portion of the CSRS Pension Fund. Instead, Chairman Issa is asking for:
a shift to five-day mail delivery service at a cost of 80,000 jobs — many of them held by veterans of the armed forces;
a new, unelected board to order massive post office and processing facility closures;
a new, unelected control authority to micro-manage the USPS, with the power to override labor contracts;
and provisions to intervene in postal collective bargaining and to tilt the process of binding arbitration in favor of management.
In addition to these radical proposals, we are told that new amendments will be considered at the markup this Wednesday that would further slash postal employment and attack workers’ pay and benefits:
a phase-out of door-to-door delivery and a phase-in of cluster box delivery nationwide, including to the elderly and disabled; and damaging and grossly unfair cuts to OWCP benefits.
Congress cannot save the Postal Service by slowly killing it, piece by piece, and by attacking middle-class workers who live and work in all 50 states, red states and blue states alike. Please call your representative and urge him or her to stand up for America’s Postal Service and to vote against the passage of H.R. 2309. Americans deserve a real solution that saves the Postal Service — not one that simply destroys it.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) 202-225-8050
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11) 202-225-1492
Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL-7) 202-225-5006
Rep. Dennis Ross, chairman (FL-12) 202-225-1252 (co-sponsor of H.R. 2309)
Rep. Justin Amash, vice chairman (MI-3) 202-225-3831
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-4) 202-225-2676
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-3) 202-225-7751
Rep. Connie Mack (FL-14) 202-225-2536
Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-7) 202-225-6276
Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-4) 202-225-6030
Fredric V. Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers