A guest blog by VOCAL RCA
Darrell Issa, the third richest person in Congress (source:Amanda Becker, Roll Call, May 2013), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is the current leading cause why true postal reform is at a stand still.
According to a report on SavethePostOffice.com, entitled Bailout BS: Darrell Issa’s Misinformation Campaign about the Postal Retirement Funds; many in Congress are unwilling to allow the United States Postal Service to suspend its’ retirement contributions, that it has been paying since 2006, because it would lead to a taxpayer bailout. Darrell Issa, a Californian Republican, argues that if the Retiree Health Benefits Fund (RHBF) that the Postal Service is currently paying into, is suspended, taxpayers will ultimately have to take over payments to the Treasury Department, to care for postal retirees. Issa uses this argument on his website entitled “Saving the Postal Service.” On the website the Issa-Ross Postal Reform Act, H.R. 2309, basically would allow postal management to downsize its’ workforce, close post offices and end Saturday mail delivery. The bill would disable unions, get rid of good paying jobs, open up advantages to competitors, and would lead to the shut down of the United States Postal Service as we know it.
Issa’s website states that any overpayments or surpluses, to any funds, are myths. One of the richest men in Congress is out to disable a company that offers an affordable global delivery system that has been around for 235 years. Since 2006, due to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), the Postal Service was ordered to pay 75 years to the RHBF in a ten-year time frame. A payment no other company nor government agency has, it has been reported, by several agencies and accounting firms, that the Postal Service has overpaid billions of dollars into this fund. The exact overpayment has been changed several times due to different accounting practices. It is no coincidence that this fund was created at the same time the U.S. economic downward spiral began, which led to the Great Recession.
Currently there is slow-moving support for S.316, a bill entitled: Postal Service Protection Act of 2013. The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders a few months ago on Feb.13th. The bill addresses everything Darrell Issa opposes. The bill does away with the RHBF, stops postal closures, protects six-day mail delivery and creates innovation the company needs to survive in the new digital age. There are currently 26 democratic co-sponsors of the bill. Meanwhile the House of Representatives version, H.R. 630 written by Rep. Peter DeFazio, has 156 co-sponsors which consist of mainly democratic supporters. Perhaps Darrell Issa’s grip on Congress is slipping, but time will tell.
The fact of the matter is that the Treasury Department has been forcing the Postal Service to pay billions of dollars, for years, to keep the budget deficit down. The United States Congress has turned a blind eye to this fact and has perpetuated the slow demise of the 235 year old company. This seems the only likely reason why Congress is not acting quickly on Postal reform. The PAEA created in 2006 should be titled: Postal (workers) Are Expendable Attributes. Postal workers have been suffering for years under this ordeal because the company has shown a loss of billions since PAEA’s inception. If this ordeal continues, over 500,000 employees of the Postal Service will be out of work in October of this year, when the company has been reported will run out of money. Is the third richest person in Congress, Darrell Issa, looking out for the Treasury Department or his best interest? The United States Postal Service make up 7% of the U.S. GDP, if the company is privatized, like Issa proposes, who will gain control of USPS? One of the main ironies of this whole thing is that Postal unions actually raised money to donate to Darrell Issa’s campaign back in 2009-2010. He also received contributions from UPS as well.
Vocal RCA is a Rural Carrier Associate