Is Congressman Dennis Ross spreading misinformation on Facebook?

Congressman Dennis Ross, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the US Postal Service, is a big Facebook and Twitter user. Unfortunately, he seems to be using the social networks to spread misinformation.

Last night, in a discussion on the need for pre-funding of USPS future retiree health benefits, Ross had this to say:

And before anyone says USPS doesnt take taxpayer dollars, USPS retirement HC and pensions, and USPS Health Insurance is a guaranteed federal benefit, so in the end, taxpayers are on the hook for payment.

While USPS retirement pensions are guaranteed by the US Government, the relevance of that assertion is questionable, since there is evidence that the USPS has been overpaying its share of CSRS pensions for years, and even OPM admits that its FERS account has a surplus of almost $7 billion. What would happen if the USPS stopped paying its share of CSRS or FERS contributions? OPM would stop crediting service time to USPS employees for purposes of annuity calculation. (OPM has already made that veiled threat in its response to the USPS’s demand that its existing overfunding of FERS be exhausted before it gives the fund any more money). And in its report on the USPS financial relief proposals, OPM made it quite clear that the health benefits of USPS retirees are not guaranteed by anyone but the USPS. The agency went so far as to suggest that it would “disenroll” USPS retirees from FEHB if the USPS stopped making its contributions. Doesn’t sound like much of a guarantee.

And over the weekend, in response to a question about where Congressman Ross’s political contributions come from, he had this to say:

Kevin, go to fec.gov and click the map for 2010. You can see everyone who gave me money. I would suggest you look at my Democrat opponent and see how much of your union dues went to her.

Congressman Ross knows (or certainly should know) that no union dues went to his opponent- the PACS sponsored by labor unions rely on voluntary contributions from their members, not union dues. And it might be pointed out that Lori Edwards, Ross’s 2010 opponent received a paltry $10,000 from the APWU PAC. Ross’s boss on the oversight committee, Darrell Issa, on the other hand received over four times that amount from postal labor union PACs, as we reported on Sunday.

Update: Congressman Ross has responded via twitter:

@postalnews “If USPS stopped making pmts 2 the CSRD fund, the Fund (ie UST) is legally obligated to make the pension pmts to retirees.” OPM
Jun 28 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

The Congressman is absolutely right. Federal pensions (as opposed to USPS retiree health benefits) are an obligation of the US Government. I’m not sure why he thinks that’s an issue, though, since I stated that myself in the original post. My point was that if the USPS were to unilaterally stop making employer contributions to the FERS and CSRS retirement fund, OPM has implied that it would stop crediting USPS employees with service time towards their annuity calculation. That would relieve OPM of any further additional liability for the retiree’s annuity, which would presumably be calculated as if the employee had stopped working when the USPS contributions stopped. There would be no impact on current retirees, since the USPS stopped making contributions when those people retired. If OPM’s position is correct, the Federal Government is only guaranteeing pensions that are already paid for in full by USPS.

RepDennisRossDennis Ross
postalnewspostalnews
RepDennisRossDennis Ross
in reply to @RepDennisRoss↑

@RepDennisRoss right- if nothing changes. And if USPS doesn’t do the things its already doing to cut costs #headinanequallydarkplace
Jun 28 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

Hmmm… guess Dennis didn’t have an answer, so he decided to change the subject?

  • M. Jamison

    Facts don’t matter. In the Age of the Ideologue the only thing that matters is remaking reality to fit one’s ideological imperatives. It is impossible to argue with Congressman Ross and his ilk. It is impossible to have a rational discussion on issues. The Right has crafted a political landscape where the only thing that matters is winning.
    At this point it would seem that the only successful strategy for those who care about the future of the Postal Service is to develop a set of short-term measures that would carry us forward until the next election in 2012. One has to hope that the ongoing over reach of the Radical Right will be rewarded with a poor showing at the polls.
    At that point it may then be possible to return to the kind of thoughtful, adult discussion that needs to take place. Until then reasoning with the unreasonable is a fool’s mission.
    Much of the blame for where we stand today can be laid at the feet of senior postal management and the BOG who entertained a cynical and limited vision of the Postal Service that fueled the fire of the Radical Right. By stoking the fires of crisis in pursuit of post office closures and five-day postal leadership has let loose a narrative it can no longer control.
    The shame is that after the Postal Service has been gutted and pushed down the road of privatization, after the hundreds of thousands of good middle class jobs have been lost, after the network has been stripped of value, there will be no going back; the loss will be irrevocable and the damage to the American public and an important public asset and institution will be beyond repair.

  • KStrom

    M. Jamison, you are spot on in your comments.
    its sad to see what is being done to such a trusted public institution and public service.
    They’ve made it almost shameful to claim that you are a postal employee.

  • Dan

    I CERTAINLY hope his future political opponent uses this treasure trove of misinformation and lies against him in the next race. And the NALC members better get off their butts down there and give his opponent some proactive support…………………………

  • Tricky Dick

    Another milestone for “social networking” expanding the horizons for lying politicians.

  • lawosn

    How were these people EVER elected?????????????????????????

  • R. Robinson

    The degree of ignorance among the public and now certain politicians regarding the nature of postal work and how the USPS operates is breathtaking. Among the many errant assumptions in circulation is the idea that USPS problems originate with labor. Since when do workers around the bottom of the totem pole make policy and decide how expenditures will be made? This idea is as stupid as blaming the foot soldiers, airmen, and sailors for losing the Viet Nam war instead of the desk jockeys in Washington who were calling the shots. Your mail gets to you because the grunts made it happen in spite of managerial mismanagement. Many of the public take mail delivery so for granted that they blithely dismiss the necessity for a postal service, even for the rural areas where UPS and FedEx won’t go.

  • Guy Nohrenberg
  • Mike Parker

    Somehow, the big lie – in this case that giving postal ratepayer money overcharged to the USPS by OPM back to the USPS is a “taxpayer bailout” – if repeated often enough, is accepted as the truth. Furthermore, were it not for the severe financial requirements of the act passed in 2006 assessing massive future payments for retiree medical insurance, the USPS would be in far better financial condition, regardless of the CSRS and FERS overpayment.
    It seems that the leaders in the House wants to see the USPS fail as their first step in dismantling the federal government.

  • trout

    Congressman Ross is not even a good liar and can’t take the truth…I laid into him with facts regarding the statement he made regarding his knowledge of the Postal Service based on the “fact” that he has attended dozens and dozens of meetings with our leadership. Of course I had to let him know that these dozens and dozens of meetings must make him an expert even though I have been doing this for 36 years…..he is an idiot and is after our jobs. His response was to remove me from his friends list. What a pussy……keep voting for Republiclowns..they will take your money your vote and ultimately your job…

  • bubba

    ross is an idiot!!!!!!!!!!1

  • OG

    It is a little odd that the Issa/Ross bill say nothing about the FERS/CSRS overfunding. It is true that OPM followed the legal mandate as set in 1974 when calculating the pension funds, but USPS ended up spending $50-75 billion more than it should have. This money should be refunded to USPS and used to pay-off the draconian healthcare prefund requirement. Issa/Ross only needs to recognize this as the most obvious solution. The $5.5 billion yearly payment placed a burden on USPS especially when it needed fiscal flexibility. Issa/Ross obviously believe the problem would be solved with more unnecessary regulations and by halting the collective bargaining process. Perhaps Issa can be convinced to propose a $75 billion earmark payable to USPS. But then again, that may be perceived as a moral hazard. The Issa/Ross proposed bill should at least make for an entertaining reading.

    OG

  • AL

    Rep. Ross would lose the CSRS overfunding debate. The issue revolves around the static formula set in 1974 against new accounting standards enabling a more reasonable dynamic calculation pf postal pension funds. The Issa/Ross bill has no chance for consideration in Congress because it has no clue that USPS is already a successful quasi-independent federal entity. I wonder if Issa and Ross received a tax refund last year? If not … why not?

  • CaliDreaming

    I expected with anticipation the Issa/Ross bill. Gush, I wasn’t disappointed. Republicans and tea-party supporters talk about ‘less government’ but this proposal only proves their hypocrisy. More regulation and debt increase? This bill must be a joke. I can’t believe Issa doubled his staff following the last election and produced 130+ pages of Congressional crap. I also can’t believe that Rep. Ross actually agreed to sign his name to this legislation proposal. It is funny to see all the politicians running around trying to find out how to fix the PO. Rep. Lynch beat them to the punch with HR 1351. I personally am very aware of Issa’s dangerous politics. Thanks to Issa’s greed, California had to suffer 8-years under one of the lamest governors in the history of this state. But of course, Issa doesn’t care – as long as he gets a shot at picking on the Postal Service for personal gain. Issa’s congressional district is being realigned for the 2012 elections, which no doubt will have him scrambling for publicity. I will be at the rally carrying the sign that reads: “ISSA IS A CROOK” and, yes, I will be open for live debate.

  • Informed American

    Yes, every postal worker in America needs to educate themselves, all their friends and families. Evey voter in Fl. and Ca. 49 th district, needs contacted about these “fact fabricators” and their lies. If we don’t take action, they will win and it’s now or never. Don’t accept any excuses from your co-workers about not liking politics, with these kinds of politians, we’re all sick of politics; however that’s the game and we must play to win. Make a committment to do something every work day to combat them and we will prevail.

  • steve

    Another crook not telling the truth. Should we think differently? As an American I feel we need to remind these fools they work for the people. They have all forgot this, and its about time we the people let them know if they want to take our pay and anything else they feel they can cut. Well I say F–K Y-O you bunch of crooks. Thats right Ross and those dirt bags are under FERS. Wait, oh thats right they wont lose a frickin penny, will they.

  • rob

    Why don’t we call it the united states of Google and let them run congress its. Full of yoyos. Anyway