Congressman Darrell Issa, whose drastic postal reform legislation faced so much bipartisan opposition that it was never even voted on by the full House, will propose a watered down “interim” version of the bill during the lame-duck session. While it doesn’t include the elaborate additional bureaucracies and debt burden that were in his original bill, the new bill would eliminate Saturday delivery, and prohibit layoff protections in future contracts. Here’s how the congressman summarized the bill’s provisions in a letter to the President:
1. A reamortization of the remaining payment schedule for retiree health care benefits, using the plan you put forth in your fiscal year 2013 budget, which will not write down the liability as proposed in S. 1789, but will instead defer near-term payments until USPS is able to implement cost-cutting reforms.
2. A removal of the Congressionally imposed restriction that prevents USPS from going to 5-day delivery. On multiple occasions you have proposed to allow the Postal Service to shift to a mail delivery schedule by January l, 2013, and I agree with you that it is necessary that the Postmaster General be granted this authority.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this change could save USPS $2.5 billion per year. All recent polling data indicates the public understands the challenges facing the Postal Service and majorities of 70 percent or more support going to a five-day delivery schedule as a way to help save the historic institution.
3. A prospective ban that prevents federal agencies, including USPS, from entering into no-layoff agreements with their employees. It is Vital that our government be able to scale both up and down its employment as the need for such employment changes.
Even our service members enjoy no special protection against force reductions in light of decreasing need.