NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS LOGOOnce again, Congress is dropping the ball on postal reform. Rather than working on legislation that fixes the crisis it created with the 2006 mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, and rather than formulating smart reforms that will allow the Postal Service to innovate and thrive in the 21st century, Congress instead focuses on counterproductive service cuts. This coming week, we face two new threats to Saturday delivery. Both are distractions from what Congress should be doing to fix the Postal Service.

Highway Trust Fund update

While the House was in recess this week, the noise surrounding temporarily financing the Highway Trust Fund through the elimination of six-day mail delivery hit a fever pitch. When the House returns next week, House Republican leaders are angling to bring their proposal up for floor consideration.

The House Republican leadership proposal, which was announced May 30 by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-PA), Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Oversight and Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), would eliminate six-day mail delivery to “pay for” a short-term extension of funding for the Highway Trust Fund, to prevent a disruption of highway projects.

The Highway Trust Fund relies on a federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel sales; it’s currently set at 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel. The current rates were set in 1993 and have been eroded by inflation ever since. The decline in fuel consumption since 1993, coupled with increased spending on road construction, has resulted in insufficient dedicated tax revenues to support the current level of federal highway spending. The fund is expected to run out of money in August.

The House has been scrambling to find a pay-for to inject a temporary (one-year) infusion of $14 billion to $15 billion in cash into the trust fund before the House leaves for the August recess. House leadership claims that eliminating six-day delivery of mail would generate $10.7 billion over 10 years.

In response to this proposal, which has yet to be officially drafted into legislation, the NALC has been aggressively lobbying pro-six day Republican members of Congress on H. Res. 30, which now has 220 cosponsors from both parties. We are urging members to voice to the House Republican Leadership their opposition to this idea. On the Democratic side, Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Peter Welch (D-VT) began circulating “Dear Colleague” letters urging members from both parties to oppose the leadership proposal.

“It is time for Congress to cease kicking the can down the road by engaging in budgetary gimmicks. Proposing to pay for an on-budget transfer into the Highway Trust Fund with an off-budget cut to the Postal Service fails the laugh test and violates PAYGO and CUTGO Congressional Budget Rules,” stated Connolly in his letter to colleagues. “There is a reason a diverse range of stakeholders, from the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO to Heritage Action for America, strongly oppose raiding the Postal Service as part of a budget gimmick to fund the HTF. These organizations recognize that USPS is not a Piggy Bank, and that off-budget USPS funds simply cannot be used to fund on-budget transfers.”

NALC President Fredric Rolando and the presidents of the three other postal unions sent letters to the House and Senate in opposition of this plan, and we are also working with affiliated transportation and postal unions to oppose this plan.

We encourage all NALC members to contact their House members to shore up opposition to this idea, should it go to the floor of the House next week. The House Republican leadership is scheduled to meet with its caucus on Tuesday to discuss this proposal. We encourage NALC member to ask their Republican House members to oppose this proposal.

Be on the lookout for a call to action early next week, depending on the outcome of this caucus meeting. It’s our hope that a solid number of Republicans will voice their opposition to this plan during that meeting, effectively killing this political gimmick.

Appropriations update

Unfortunately, the attack on six-day delivery is not limited to the Highway Trust Fund or pending postal reform legislation. The House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, is working behind the scenes to draft an appropriations bill.  For the first time since 1983, they are reportedly considering a base bill that does not include our long-standing six-day appropriations language. At present, the subcommittee had not released its scheduled subcommittee markup, but it could come up as early as next week.

The NALC will continue to lobby appropriators to include this pivotal language in the legislation. As the situation unfolds next week, please be on the lookout for more information from the NALC. We will call on you to act if Congress considers slashing the quality of service provided by the Postal Service.

NALC Legislative Update — June 6, 2014.

9 Comments

  1. ITAV says:

    Lucifer and his angels are at it again, they will never be satisfied until the post office is dead, so they come in and divide up the waste and sell it back to us. The republicans will not stop until they have destroyed the post office, this destruction will effect everyone from coast to coast.

  2. Scott says:

    While stealing from the USPS to fund highway projects is stupid and shows Congress’ intent to gut it one way or the other, unfortunately the battle over six delivery will not go away until Saturday delivery is abolished.
    While the postal unions rightfully fight to keep the USPS open six days a week, with job security and service the primary reasons for doing so, the right wing has done a masterful job through its media outlets of villifying organized labor in all areas, and people overall are so hooked to electronic media they have lost the ability to write letters, many pay all bills through drafts, send e-cards instead of real ones and have basically for people thirty or younger grown up without the USPS as a direct influence on their lives.
    These people get packages, and that’s good as package business is picking up nationwide, but aside from utility bills, they primarily get junk mail and largely hate it. So public support for six day delivery will wane as older folks dependent on receiving medicine and medical supplies decrease in population. Only by offering lower shipping and dependable service will the USPS retain the package business. However, with the new PSE/CCA program, thousands of people are being employed with the attitude of a fast food worker and about as much sense of responsibility. Plus, the wages for new workers is barely acceptable and they are expected to work incredibly long hours for what they eventually feel is inadequate pay. Thus, most leave knowing they can get similar pay for a lot less hassle.
    The failure to preserve six day delivery will be seen by many postal employees as further proof of the ineffectiveness of their unions. This is not the union’s faults – they are simply unable to compete with the billions coming in from industry that’s attacking organized labor, with contributions to Congress far far below anybody padding the pockets of Darryl Issa and Pat Donohoe, the worst PMG in the history of human communications, all the way back to cavemen running to the next cave a mile over to deliver a stick of fire. Only by defeating these creeps in the elections will things possibly look better. In the meanwhile, expect five day delivery possibly by years’ end.

  3. inspector19 says:

    this is getting good, all this can’t be real. It’s getting more like the WWF every day.
    This is all rehearsed and bogus. It’s fun reading the PR.

  4. Bob says:

    I say screw them! Let’s strike!

  5. BKizzle says:

    5 day delivery by years end!!!! I like the sound of that. Beach time!!!!

  6. Bankrupt says:

    Let me see now, schedule J: 24 do u expect an increase or decrease in your expenses within the year after u file this form?

    Hum?

  7. Bankrupt says:

    House idiot Daryl Issa has come out saying he wants to make everyone who can retire without any compassion or compensation, take his don’t let the door hit u in the a$$ policy.

    Others wish to bankrupt the postal service, throwing out all union contracts. Along with the Pay & Benefits us workers have worked 4.

    85 to 100 thousand employees, maybe more losing their jobs just over the horizon.

    I’d say there is a good chance of a decrease coming my way next year.

    Well now that’s filled out, what else can I do before the $hit hits the fan?

    Were’s that unscheduled request # at.

  8. BKizzle says:

    I can’t believe knuckleheads write paragraphs on what “they” think is right for the majority??? We work with animals… I don’t want to be there 10 hours, 6 days a week!!! Give me mon-fri, 40 hours a week and you wouldn’t hear a peep from me!!! It’s that simple!! That job is a morale killer! I’m not even talking about the delivery part if it , the wear and tear on the body …. I’m talking about working with animals, managed by bigger animals!!!!! This is the problem!!!!! 20 years ago this job still sucked. It it was tolerable , now it’s just degrading!!!! Give me my weekends to get back what’s left of a sad life…. Please!!!! 2026 and it’s rap!!! But I truly believe this place won’t even exist then!!! Not with what’s is coming up the tanks!!!!!! So sad!!!! TRULY!!!!

  9. maillady says:

    Five day IS the way!