RELEASE: Cummings Expresses Disappointment with Partisan Postal Bill Passed by Oversight Committee
Washington, D.C.—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement after the Oversight Committee voted on a partisan basis to pass H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013, which was introduced by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa::
“Although I am encouraged that the Chairman included some Democratic provisions to improve the Postal Service’s financial outlook, I am disappointed that Republicans once again chose to pass a partisan bill that includes a number of extreme provisions that would weaken the Postal Service and negatively impact service to all Americans,” said Cummings. “As the bill moves to the House floor, I continue to believe that we can and should pass a bipartisan bill that has the support of both Democrats and Republicans, that provides the Postal Service with the flexibility it needs to address its financial challenges, that ensures that customers continue to receive the service they expect, and that right-sizes the Postal Service’s workforce with the compassion these employees have earned.”
Chairman Issa’s bill, which passed along partisan lines by a vote of 22 to 17, would immediately end the delivery of mail on Saturdays, end front-door delivery to most residences by 2022 unless customers agree to pay a new fee, require the Postal Service to take on additional debt from the Treasury to meet its operating costs, intrude on negotiations between the Postal Service and its employees by intervening in labor contracts, and remove Postal Service workers from their existing workers’ compensation system and impose a new system that provides lower benefits than those provided under current law.
The Committee also voted on a partisan basis to reject all amendments proposed by Democrats to improve the bill. For example, the Committee rejected an amendment proposed by Cummings offering a measure modeled on the text of his bill, The Innovate to Deliver (I2D) Act, as a substitute to Issa’s bill. Cummings’ legislation would:
Enable the Postal Service to offer new products and services while ensuring that it maintains its core responsibilities, including requiring the appointment of a new Chief Innovation Officer charged with developing products and services to capitalize on new business opportunities, such as check-cashing, warehousing, and logistics.
Authorize the Postal Service to right-size its workforce with compassion to increase efficiency and profitability, including by providing additional service credits to incentivize employees to retire.
Address the Postal Service’s financial challenges by reamortizing prepayments for future retiree health benefits over 40 years, recalculating the Postal Service’s surplus within the Federal Employees’ Retirement pension system using postal-specific assumptions, and refunding excess funds to the Postal Service to pay down existing debt.
The committee also rejected the following amendments offered by Democrats:
- Lynch Amendment to Preserve Residential Door Delivery (rejected 17 to 22): This amendment would have eliminated the bill’s requirement to convert 30 million existing customers that receive door delivery to either curbside or centralized delivery.
- Lynch Amendment to Protect Employee Bargaining Rights (rejected 17 to 22): This amendment would have eliminated the bill’s intervention in negotiations between the Postal Service and their employees when they jointly agree to protect against reductions of force.
- Lynch Amendment to Return FERS Overpayments to Postal Service (rejected 17 to 22): This amendment would have recalculated the FERS surplus using Postal-specific assumptions and returned any overpayments to the Postal Service.
- Tierney Amendment to Protect Employee Workers Comp (rejected 17 to 22): This amendment would have eliminated the bill’s requirement to remove Postal Service workers from their existing workers’ compensation system and impose a new system that provides lower benefits than those available under current law.