Sen. Sanders’ Bill Addresses USPS Crisis
APWU Web News Article 126-2011, Nov. 21, 2011
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently introduced the Postal
Service Protection Act (S. 1853 [PDF]), a bill that would go a long way toward resolving
the USPS financial crisis, Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid
“Sen. Sanders’ bill gets at the underlying causes of the
Postal Service’s dire financial situation, and outlines methods
for resolving the crisis,” he said. “It offers solutions
that would strengthen service and protect the network of post offices
and mail processing centers.
“The network is one of the Postal Service’s greatest assets,” Reid
noted. “Unfortunately, several other bills currently pending in
Congress would destroy this essential component of the Postal Service
and American life.”
The Postal Service Protection Act would:
- Fix the Postal Service’s immediate financial crisis by allowing
the USPS to recover the overpayments it made to its retiree pension
funds — both
the $7 billion overpayment to the Federal Employees Retirement System
(FERS) and the $50 billion to $75 billion overpayment to the Civil
Service Retirement System. In addition, the bill would eliminate the
unique requirement that the USPS pre-fund 75 years worth of future
retiree health benefits in just 10 years. No other agency or company
in America is required to pre-fund these benefits.
- Establish new ways to generate revenue by ending the prohibition
on USPS providing non-postal services, such as providing notary services,
new media services and issuance of licenses; contracting with state
and local agencies to provide services; shipping wine and beer, and
allowing the USPS to provide services that mail systems in many other
countries provide, including digital services.
- Create a blue-ribbon commission composed of entrepreneurs, representatives
of labor and small businesses to provide recommendations on how the
Postal Service can generate new revenue to succeed in the 21st century.
- Prevent the closing of rural post offices by giving the Postal Regulatory
Commission (PRC) binding authority to prevent closures based on the
effect on the community and employees. The bill would also prohibit
USPS from considering whether a post office is turning a profit when
making the decision to conduct a feasibility study for closure.
- Protect six-day delivery.
- Protect mail-processing facilities by requiring strict standards
for delivering first-class mail.
Joining Sanders as original co-sponsors of the bill were Sens. Kirsten
Gillibrand (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Ron Wyden
here for a more detailed summary [PDF] of the bill.
fixing USPS finances]
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