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A Flurry of Postal Bills Introduced in the House

June 04, 2019

Considering there is so much dysfunction in Washington these days, it is a bit surprising that Postal matters are on anyone’s mind. A House committee hearing held on April 30th was, many opined, a precursor to introduction of draft legislation similar to H.R. 756 that was introduced in the 115th Congress. During the hearing, many were surprised to learn that Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), a staunch ally of the Postal Service, had been promised a USPS turnaround plan back in January. Ranking member Meadows became somewhat hostile and expressed his dismay that the plan had not yet been completed. Although the PMG seemed to believe that it was a misunderstanding on timing, this may delay any short-term plans to reintroduce the intended legislation. Chairman Elijah Cumming (D-MD) quickly backed Representative Meadows’ position, announcing plans for a future hearing to review the plan. We fully expect the Postal Service to issue this 10-year plan publicly prior to the upcoming hearing tentatively scheduled for July 7.

Other bills recently introduced include:

H.R. 2382, the USPS Fairness Act

Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on April 29th, the bill would repeal the requirement that the Postal Service prepay future retirement benefits. The bipartisan bill has three co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

In testimony from Fredric Rolando, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in the hearing referenced above, he indicates that the bill would no longer result in a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score. He states that “it would no longer increase the federal deficit because the CBO budget baseline now assumes that the Postal Service can no longer make its prefunding payments”. If this is accurate, it could increase the likelihood of passage and would go a long way in improving the financial position of the Postal Service. This is a bill we will be watching very closely.

H.R. 2478, the Federal Retirement Fairness Act

Introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) on May 2nd, the bill would provide that civilian service in a temporary position after December 31, 1988, may be creditable service under the Federal Employees Retirement System. In other words, the bill would allow employees who began as non-career workers to regain credit for that time. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) and has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

H.R. 2517, the United States Postal Service Shipping Equity Act

Introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) on May 3rd, the bill would provide the Postal Service the authority to mail alcoholic beverages. The bipartisan bill has twelve co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on the Judiciary for further action.

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