Issa silences Democrats, tells them they aren’t allowed to question his “integrity”

The postal service wasn’t on the agenda at Monday’s session of the Issa House Oversight Committee, but what happened at the latest of Issa’s IRS/Benghazi show trials goes a long way towards explaining why the committee, and the House as a whole, are unable to deal with postal reform- or much else, aside from making a mockery of the legislative process. From Roll Call:

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Darrell Issa signals an aide to silence Rep. Elijah Cummings’ microphone at one of his “hearings”
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee went after IRS Commissioner John Koskinen again Monday, while Democrats on the panel reserved much of their ire for Chairman Darrell Issa. Issa, involved in a high-profile clash earlier this year with Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the panel, was criticized repeatedly during Monday’s hearing by Democrats who dismissed the proceeding as election-year posturing.

At one point, the California Republican warned Democrats that House rules forbid members from questioning the integrity or motives of other members — touching off a heated protest from Rep. Steven Horsford. The Nevada Democrat angrily contrasted Issa’s admonition Monday with the March 5 incident, in which Cummings’ microphone was turned off mid-statement on Issa’s orders. Issa repeatedly cut Horsford off, insisting the lawmaker “state a point of parliamentary inquiry,” until Cummings broke in and asked the chairman to “Let him ask the question.”

“I will not,” Issa said.

Read more: Issa, Cummings Clash Anew Over Hearing on Lost IRS Emails.

NALC: Fact-checking The Washington Post’s ‘Fact Checker’

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June 16, 2014—The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker,” Glenn Kessler, has challenged on his blog the statement by NALC that the Postal Service’s plan to end Saturday would eliminate 80,000 jobs.

Sadly, Kessler has made a hash of it.

Kessler argues that the NALC’s statement is misleading, because the data our statement relies on is from a 2010 Postal Service presentation about a 2009 study (he posted slides from that presentation). Kessler also argues that fewer jobs would be lost, that many of those are part-time jobs, that most of the job loss would be through attrition rather than layoffs, and that the NALC is relying on an outdated study.

Continue reading NALC: Fact-checking The Washington Post’s ‘Fact Checker’

With Cantor Gone, House GOP Drops Postal Rescue for Highway Fund

As you might have guessed, the surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has resulted in the dismissal of his bizarre plan to have the US Postal Service finance the nation’s highway program for a year. The plan was supported by Postmaster General Pat Donahoe.

sad-cantorHouse leaders are setting aside a plan to finance a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund with cutbacks in U.S. Postal Service operations after a late barrage of opposition from rank-and-file members.

“The proposal to end six-day [mail delivery] was not well received by a large portion of the Republican conference and appears to be dead,” said a senior House Republican aide. “Other, more viable options are now being considered.”

House Republican aides said the plan collapsed after Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election in Virginia on Tuesday night. Cantor had been behind the idea from the start, they said.

Read more: House GOP Drops Postal Rescue for Highway Fund | FBAct Insider.

NALC blasts PMG for endorsing highway budget scam, misleading Congress

NALC-LOGOJune 14, 2014—Earlier this week, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe recklessly endorsed the House of Representative’ leadership’s outrageous ploy to use massive job and service cuts in the Postal Service to “pay for” a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money in August if Congress fails to raise the gas tax that normally funds it or to come up with an alternative source of revenue.

The proposal, the brainchild of the outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), would use the alleged saving of eliminating Saturday mail delivery to offset the cost of a temporary injection of taxpayer funds into the trust fund to keep highway maintenance and construction projects going for a few more months.

The plan, which appears to have failed to gain enough support to advance in the House, was widely panned in Washington as a transparent gimmick that relied on averting a hypothetical taxpayer bailout of the Postal Service in the future.  It was also a massive failure of leadership. Our nation deserves a serious long-term solution to our highway infrastructure crisis, but the House of Representatives refuses to govern.

The criticism did not stop the PMG from lending his support to the scheme.

NALC President Fredric Rolando denounced the PMG’s move and issued the following statement:

“Mr. Donahoe’s action may be the most irresponsible thing any Postmaster General has done since the creation of the Postal Service in 1970. If allowed to succeed, this budget gimmick would have set a terrible precedent for the Postal Service. Why raise taxes or reduce spending at taxpayer-funded agencies, when you can pay for pet projects with legislated service cuts at the Postal Service? Need a new aircraft carrier? Slash post office hours. Want a new fleet of planes to fight forest fires? Raise postage rates. The PMG recklessly risked undoing all the hard work we did in the late 1980s to get the Postal Service off-budget, to shield the Postal Service and ratepayers from scheming politicians like Rep. Cantor. The PMG owes every postal employee and every postage rate-payer an apology.”

The Postal Service did not just offer rhetorical support for the House GOP plan. It spent the week distributing grossly misleading “fact sheets” to Congress about the effects of eliminating Saturday delivery.

The NALC and our allies in the other unions and in both parties in Congress fought back with fact sheets and communications of our own.

There was never any support in the Senate for the Cantor highway trust fund proposal, and according to a story by Congressional Quarterly, opposition in the House now seems to have killed the idea altogether.

But President Rolando warned NALC members to remain vigilant:

“We may have defeated this gimmick, but we must also ensure that the six-day mandate is renewed in next year’s House appropriation bill. The next few weeks will be decisive on this front as well; we will need every member to fight to save the Postal Service from politicians who want to dismantle it. It’s a shame that postmaster general has made common cause with the dismantlers instead of working with us and other stakeholders to advance consensus reforms that will strengthen the Postal Service, not weaken it.”

Will Cantor’s Defeat Sink the Highway-Postal Delivery Deal?

boehnercantorCantor’s defeat throws yet another variable into postal reform.

The deposed House Majority leader hoped to rescue highway funding with savings from moving to five-day delivery.

A funny thing happened to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on his way to pushing an aggressive June legislative agenda that included a modified postal delivery schedule. He lost his Virginia House seat in yesterday’s GOP primary election to economics professor Dave Brat. The surprising defeat led the Washington Post to opine that House legislative activity would now cease, as Republican members would “avoid doing anything—literally anything—that could be used against them” in their mid-term reelection bids this summer. Today, Cantor stepped down from his House leadership position.

That could well include postal issues that divide House members along political and geographic lines on issues like labor and rural delivery.

Read more: Will Cantor’s Defeat Sink the Highway-Postal Delivery Deal? – Direct Marketing News.