Burrus: What’s Next for the Issa-Ross Bill

The Issa/Ross Bill has now been voted out of Committee but it is a long way from finalization.  It is a disappointment that the progressive forces were unable to substitute HR 1351 for the regressive legislation intended to break postal unions and continue the long standing practice of using USPS’ revenues as the piggy bank of the federal government.  HR 2309 was on a fast track to adoption by the Committee but it was unfortunate that those who supported the Lynch Bill did not immediately discredit the request to GAO as a political stunt.

This political maneuver was similar to the Bush appointment of a Presidential Commission to make recommendations for postal reform.  We were able to caste suspicions of a done deal prior to the issuance of the final report, removing it as a defense for draconian change.    In this instance, Representatives who wanted to toe the party line were able to cite the GAO report as official review with feigned legitimacy.

Sufficient Co-sponsors (226) have been received to “discharge” HR 1351 from the Issa Committee and be considered by the House but that option faces the Republican majority, a hostile Speaker and the GAO report as cover so even if successful, odds are against its passage.

The next step is for the Speaker to call up the legislation for consideration by the full House.  This process will include votes on the rules that will apply to the debate.  If the Bill reaches the floor of the House it would be expected to receive a majority vote as the Democrats do not have the numbers to offset the Tea Party’s Support and wavering Republicans who will hide behind the faulty GAO report which is no more conclusive than previous reports by  the OIG, PRC and two independent firms.

Senator McCain has introduced S1625 (HR 2309) in the Senate to counter the Carper Bill which is not postal or labor friendly, but does not include the drastic changes.  This political maneuvering is intended to influence the outcome of the Senate deliberations requiring the consideration of the anti-labor provisions.

The Senate Committee under Chairman Carper (DE) will call up his Bill on postal reform and in Committee discussions, McCain who is a member of the Committee would be expected to offer S1625 as a substitute.  The Democrats outnumber the Republicans on the Committee and can be expected to reject the motion to substitute.  Senator Lieberman (CT) is an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats and is influential on the Committee so it is important that the unions get a reading on his positions.  This back room political maneuvering is more important than the broadcast approach of asking the membership to contact every Congressperson, friend and foe, including those that will follow the leadership vs. those who are open for persuasion.  Much time and resources have been wasted on info commercials and multiple contacts with friends who will support the union’s position or defend against the more radical changes. The issue has never been taxpayer funding but overpayment of the retirement fund.

Following the Senate Committee consideration of the Carper Bill, the resulting legislation will be presented to the Senate for vote.  The majority leader, Reid, has a lot of authority on the selection of Bills for Senate consideration and it is not unusual for Bills to die in the House and not be presented to the Senate for vote.  If brought up for vote, the Senate rules permit the filibuster which requires 60 votes for consideration.

In that S1625, the McCain substitute and the Carper Bill do not include the refund of the overpayment and Carper has been quoted as saying that “lawmakers should table discussions regarding any CSRS refunds” the only way to include this refund in the Senate discussions is through a substitute amendment by a supporting Senator.   With the GAO opinion and Chairman Carper as a signature to the request for their opinion it is unlikely that such an amendment would be successful. So as a legislative strategy it is time to move beyond this issue and salvage what is achievable.

After passage by the House and Senate, unless the Bills considered by each chamber are identical, Committee members are selected to combine the Bills into a single piece of legislation to be voted on by the House and Senate as amended, before submission to the president for signature.

In the background, president Obama has requested that his proposals for postal reform be included before the Deficit Commission which would bypass the House and Senate Committee process.  His proposal includes 5 day delivery which is strongly opposed by the unions but the decision must be made on which fights to engage in and with whom.  Do we fight the Republican efforts to destroy the Postal Service and the unions or do we fight the Obama inclusion of 5 day delivery.  This is a legislative and executive decision but it is time to decide and serious consideration must be given to the results if you don’t prevail.  In American Politics you can be right and lose.

Bill Burrus

Burrus Journal

28 thoughts on “Burrus: What’s Next for the Issa-Ross Bill

  1. It stuns me how many uninformed people are on here, especially Republicans mascarading as union members. Copa is entirely apart from dues as it required to be under federal law.there will most likely be a last minute deal next year before summer break in congress. dont hold your breath!!

  2. Hey Billy,

    APWU COPA fund gave Congressman Darrel Issa, the most hated man in the Postal political arena, $5,000.00 during the 2010 election cycle…you remember that don’t you Bill? And wasn’t that dues paying members money that went to Issa?

    Maybe a dues assessment is in order to recoup those wasted dues money. But APWU still urges all to keep paying those dues!

  3. Let us just face the facts! Unless the AMERICAN PUBLIC gets a LOT smarter by next election, we are all DOOMED! Every day at the the window proves to me that that ISN’T going to happen. People are so STUPID they don’t even know how to address a letter. That is WHY the Republicans have been GUTTING the educational system’s funding! Class warfare is already starting to rear it’s ugly head! ” LET THEM EAT CAKE!”

  4. The masses of APWU lemmings & minions want early retirement with a dollar figure attached. The APWU hierarchy is clearly against any early retirements regardless of what you may hear. Its simple economics:

    APWU has been in a steady decline of membership and in a near nose-dive as of late. With dwindling coffers and the likelihood newer Postal employees will not be signing up in “the club”, why would any organization push for early retirement only to see those coffers wither up? Early retirements only mean the eventual death-knell for the APWU, less officers at the top, more stewards bumping senior employees for positions and offices and…yes…APWU lay-offs of office personnel at “L” street. Don’t believe me – ask Burris!

    Keep paying dem dues bruthas & sistas!

  5. postalbabe,

    Burrus did speak out against the Postal Reform bill in 2006 and was the first union leader to do so, Burrus did state that the Postal Service was losing revenue by giving unfair discounts to mass mailers, Burrus did contact the mail handlers to see if they were interested in joining our union. Evidently you were not aware of these things. Burrus was a good leader, was he perfect no, but who is. He also had a right to retire after over 40 years of union activism. If the members had taken the time to pay attention themselves instead of always acting like sheep then we would not be in this position now. Do not be led to believe that all this action in Congress is independent of the actions by our postmaster. They go hand in hand. Burrus has taken the time to explain the procedures of the passage of bills. I did not know the specifics before hand and now will have a foundation to look it up myself and see if what he is saying is correct. If he is correct then his last sentence will hold very true, even if you are right you can lose.

  6. The PO is too important for the Reps to support Issa and they need to stop playing games just so Obama Doesnt pass anything taht may healp someamericans.Obama mentioned 5 day deliever but he is in no way set in that, he wants to pass something and needs to sitwith Lynch Sen Baucus, ect andget a good bipartisan bill to alleast help out USPS,which is one of the largest places for hire vets and disabled vets in Custidians. We need the USPS to fil jobs as retires come along, leave it alone and stop the wars, if they did we would have a place for many vets and it always is a back up for when we pull out instead of having unmployees vets, postal employees ect

  7. Bring HR 1351 to the floor to vote on it and encourgage yoour senators ti support S 1649. Obama is not set on 5 day delievery and many Senators, Rup and dem alike want to pass something. Rup in big staes dont want to lose more jobs and some states they dont have post offices within 20 mile or more if they close the local AO. Senators look likethey want to protect their states postal delievery and AOs

  8. It woud be nice to see our Goverment spending money to reuild our coutry and the living here,. Instead of destroying our ways and history by bleeding the middle class and Union jobs to pay to kill and occupy everywhere and have a huge constant miitary industial complex , which Eisenhower warned about amd both Kennedys and MLK spoke out about spreading ourselves oer the globe while big business is running the country but hopefully they will see we need money here and shouldnt be trying to police the globe. How can we preach, spend more we dont have in civil wars and wars againt a religion, they can always find another”threat” and pranch into wherever Muslims live, waste trillions on bases, wars and being top cop while we let our countrys middle class ,our freedoms and Countries foundation for what. War use to be good for bg business and make jobs for American companies, know we dont even emploee our own citizens because the big busness will subcontract the jobs out side the USA. We dontmake anything anymore.

    They have the middle class fighting eachother by pitting Rep vs Dem, while they are all destorying amd selling out the American to save a buck and get lobbists money for votes. ISSA and all incumpants need to go. Show them we still elect them, they serve us. If they are good guys vote them back next election. Its time we stop fighton this party line, not evenknowning the issus, just voting and voting the party.

    T Congress reads old journels, laws of Jackson on Federal resevses to Washington and bill that warned against the fail from within, like whats happening, also made it illegal to be involved be inlvoved in conspiring and having relationsips wit foreign affairs. It took Pearl Habor to get usin WWw, proir to whch American didnt live in a constant war state. People live in a great country, they protested Viatenam, the illegal engagement over oil. Timeto take back the US from the big business controlled congress which arrests you and doesnt cover protests. The feed us what they want us to hear and most Americans gave up on voting for one crook or another. The rest fight eachother over a false sense of control and they brainwashed and under educated people enough to just walk into any country without people caring or blinking an eye…

    My keyboard is all messed up, sorry for any grammer errors. Half the keys work good and I didnt

  9. Thanks Mr. Burrus for the very clear and reasoned assessment of our situation. I think it’s time to ‘occupy the super committee”!! I still wonder what the chances are of getting Obama’s postal proposal in the super committee? I know Issa has already written a letter to the committee urging them NOT to include postal reform in their deliberations. Is their anything we can do to help get this proposal in the committee?

  10. Why cant they just vote down 2309 Issa’s bill on the floor of the house and call HR 1351 to a vote to pass to the senate. It has the cosponsors to pass, yet Issa’s doesn’t. The Sentate has a bill that is almost a mirrow imagine to HR1351 and also protects rural, ig states and stops clousers of AOs unless there is one within 10 miles. Screw the refunds just stop prepaying the future 2006 prefund requirement. The PO would turn around, slower, but that money was spent and there is no refund coming. Just cease the payments as schuled. Since it was enacted we went from the black to 21 billion deficit, which if we minus the payments made to the prefunding we would still be in the black. Stop trying to get spent money and focus in stopping future payment, and let see what happens. Than if if doesnt turn around make more drastic ideas, sell sme property and than close whats neeeded. But I think we could or should bring back real postal ways. Without major closing we could still turn around without the 2006 Postal destruction act. Stop making the USPS prefund in a way no one would or has to for employees they want to layoff. Why are we required to pay 5.6 billion a yr to prefund a health care fund when they are taking of cutting so much. Who are we prefunding? Anyone in Congress has to see no one. Its probably a fund to help pay for the wars because if Issa has his way we would have lose over 300,000jobs since the 2006 act. The numbers dont add up ISSA. Stop the prefnding and let the PO work its way through the 5 yrs of unjust laws enfored just to the USPS. Why not all federal/private sector have the same requirement? Why dont ISSA prefund all his business employees plan in 10yr for a 75 yr period. No one would, we are paying for people not born? Because congress created this proble,knowin they could force the USPS and bit private business ith this scam to pay our refund to pay the trusurey and fund wars and aid to hostile areas, while our country is broke and destrying its foundations. The USPS was a cash cow for congress before when we use to give our surpluss money to thema nd we were the only agency making money. Now they got away with not having to account for themoney the spent, we overpaid REFUND, in 06 and we are paying for it now

  11. MR BURRUS, why cant local unions issue a weekly report with updates concerning this whole situation? why do we have to log onto postal reporter and find this information out from you who is retired???? please please tell all locals to do this.. stop the rumors, keep your constituents informed with real and honest info..

  12. We will have to go to five day delivery, no doubt about that. This is not the battle to fight, the battle to fight is with Issa and Ross and their systematic dismanteling of the Postal Service and its employees. His personal vendetta and greed is behind all his actions, and Ross is just a stupid follower, trying to make a name for himself. Both of them will be history in the next elections. Of course, Issa could care less, he is a multimillionaire made with his connections, political and otherwise, so he is probably looking forward to being throw out, he will still get all of his benefits, paid for by us the tax payers. Then he can go sit on the board of UPS or FedEx, since his goal will be accomplished as far as destroying the USPS is concerned. He actually should be thrown in jail for his back door ties to all of this, and like I say, Ross is probably just too stupid to realize his role as a pawn in Issa’s little scheme. We must not go up against Obama or our Democratic Senators for they are our only hope of a fair solution and perhaps an offer of an incentive to retire. Other wise, we face age descrimination, pure and simple with union busting as icing on the cake. One thing is for sure, we all are taking names of all the Congressmen and women, and Senators who are voting for this sham of corruption that has been put forth on us, so just remember come voting time and vote the bastards out of office! Put them on the street just like they are doing to us. Best of luck to all. J.

  13. I know it seems bleak now, but just wait until the economy turns around.

    Wages, FTR’s, benefits WILL be back. It may be several years. Right now it is an employer’s world. THey hold all the cards. They see the Walmarts, etc getting away with full time being 30 hours (yeah right), little to meager benefits, etc.

    Someday the economy WILL get going again. Unemployment will drop & the B@#$tards ripping off the American hard working employee will start paying what we are worth because the roll will be reversed or they will not attract quality employees.

    We’ll remember who the bad guys are too.

  14. RealJoke(Conservative,the only commies in this case are you and your boyhood heros Ross and Issa…yours is coming you clueless fool…

  15. So what is Guffey up to?, I received emails from the National concerning VERA, nothing concrete yet, but it would make sense to offer something, we have clerks, in no shape to become carriers, if the November excessing date holds, many clerks forced to the carrier craft are cooked, unless they get hurt , can get disability retirement or social security disability, the APWU is losing more members than if the USPS offered a VERA, sad, but unless a miracle, we are doomed, and the National Officers of the APWU will be without jobs, a paper union, a sad ending.

  16. In the name of the FICTIONAL DEBT MONSTER that has been invented by THE PARTY OF FEAR AND “NO”, the Postal Service will cease to exist in the form that America has come to know. The USPS has been relegated to the category of DEBT REDUCTION ITEMS for no other reason than that THE CONGRESS wrote a law in 2006 to milk the agency dry.
    Many changes are coming to America and it’s citizens due to the strangle hold that the TEAPUBLICANS have on our government. Those that can least afford it are going to be made into sacrificial lambs and their benefits, income security and their health care are going to be reduced or eliminated toward the same end that the USPS has reached.
    Postal and Federal Employees will be losing many benefits….and there will be no NEW FERS COVERED EMPOYEES, NO “SS GAP PAYMENT” for those fortunate enough to be able to retire….the Congress and the President want to extend the PAY FREEZE for another two years….and…oh, did I mention, the Postal Service will transform itself into an irrelevant skeleton of what it once was….
    This is what those people who went to the election polls without clearly thinking through what their selections for Congress would result in…..
    Better luck next time….

  17. Mr Burris, Were you not aware what was coming our way some years ago? Why didn’t you do something about it then to protect the the APWU employees? Now we are in a big jam where all employees are being attacked by Management. We need leadership and as far as I can see WE HAVE NONE!!!!

  18. Thanks Mr. Burrus – always like to see what you have to say. You have good insight, good instincts. Please continue to weigh in with your thoughts.

    Take care Sir.

Comments are closed.