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North Dakota Senator Launches New Grassroots Effort to Share Postal Concerns with USPS, GAO

Press release from Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND):

My Approved PortraitsDICKINSON, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today launched a new grassroots effort to help North Dakotans have their voices heard by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Heitkamp, who serves on the Senate committee that oversees the USPS, is calling on North Dakotans to share their stories if they have encountered extensive delivery times or had to deal with other problems with their postal service. Heitkamp will then present the stories to the USPS Postmaster General and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the independent agency she called on today to investigate the postal delivery standards North Dakotans and other Americans experience.

Heitkamp brought USPS officials to western North Dakota today to hear about the unique issues this part of the state is facing, and why it is important to address the area’s postal service problems. Postal stakeholders and North Dakotans who experience USPS everyday got an opportunity to discuss their experiences and the next steps which need to be taken.

“I’ve heard too many concerns and complaints from North Dakotans about the problems they face with getting their mail on time, and it absolutely needs to be fixed,” said Heitkamp. “To help me in my efforts to improve our postal service, I need to hear from North Dakotans. That’s what the discussion today is about. And this grassroots effort will build on it by allowing us to share the challenges we face in our state directly with the Postmaster General. I encourage North Dakotans who have a story to go to my website and tell me about it.”

To share their stories, North Dakotans should visit www.heitkamp.senate.gov. There, they can fill out a short form with their stories. No personal information will be shared with the USPS or GAO. North Dakotans can also post their stories on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #FixMyMail.

In a letter to Comptroller General of the United States Gene L. Dodaro, Heitkamp called on the GAO to conduct a study to determine the difference between the delivery service postal customers experience and what USPS measures. There has been a discrepancy between stories from North Dakotans about long delivery times, while USPS says service standards are mostly met. Heitkamp is hopeful that stories from North Dakotans will help shape the study to accurately reflect the conditions on the ground.

As a member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Heitkamp plays a leading role in postal service issues, and is proud of her efforts to help improve western North Dakota postal service. During Congress’ work on comprehensive postal reform legislation, Heitkamp is committed to making sure rural areas have fair access to the postal service and postal employees are treated fairly.

 

Issa introduces bill to end Saturday mail delivery, use savings to increase military pensions (seriously!)

Darrell-Issa-007Congressman Darrell Issa has introduced a bill that would allow the US Postal Service to stop delivering regular mail on Saturdays. Package deliveries would continue six days a week.

In a somewhat peculiar move, the Saturday service cut is included in a bill to reverse a reduction in cost of living adjustments for some retired military veterans that was part of the bipartisan Paul Ryan/Patty Murray budget deal.

Why the link? Issa claims that over the next 10 years the delivery cuts would save $17 billion- more than triple the budget savings provided by the military COLA reduction.

There’s just one little problem with Issa’s scheme, of course: since the USPS is funded by its own revenue, and is “off-budget”, reductions in USPS expenses have no direct impact on the federal budget. Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: Fewer Americans favor privatizing USPS

rasmussenThe conservative leaning Rasmussen polling organization says that the portion of Americans who favor privatizing the US Postal Service has shrunk to barely one third. The pollster found that just 35% of American adults favor privatization, down from 40% in 2011:

The U.S. Postal Service has been plagued with financial problems for years, but fewer adults now believe the federal government should sell the Postal Service. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 35% of American Adults think the U.S. government should consider selling the Postal Service to a private company in order to reduce the federal budget deficit. But that’s down from 40% in 2011. Forty-eight percent (48%) oppose such sale, while 17% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on December 28-29, 2013

Read more: 35% Think U.S. Government Should Consider Selling the Postal Service – Rasmussen Reports™.

Ed Schultz video: Darrell Issa just doesn’t like government agencies that work (like the USPS!)

Congressman Darrell Issa wants to hold hearing after hearing to attack government agencies that work. Representative Peter Defazio joins Ed to talk about the attack on the United States Postal Service and Healthcare.gov.

Read more: The Critic: Rep. Darrell Issa | MSNBC.

APWU: UPS Christmas Debacle Shows Why We Need a Public Postal Service

apwulogoAPWU Web News Article #143-13, Dec. 30, 2013

The failure of United Parcel Service to deliver holiday packages by Christmas demonstrates the importance of the U.S. Postal Service to the people of the country, says APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

“The UPS fiasco underscores why the Postal Service must continue to be a public service,” he said. “We must ensure that hiring decisions and other policy issues governing the nation’s mail service are not guided by the bottom line and private profit.”

United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent FedEx were unable to meet their commitment to deliver holiday orders by Dec. 25, blaming inclement weather and unexpectedly high volume.

“The Postal Service is the people’s service,” Dimondstein told broadcaster Ed Schultz on his Dec. 30 radio program. “We need a vibrant service for generations to come.”

The USPS is under attack by corporate privatizers who want to take over the nation’s mail service, the union president said. “Companies like FedEx and UPS want to get their hands on that $65 billion,” he said, referring to the Postal Service’s annual revenue from the sale of stamps and services.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal titled Junking the Junk Mail Office, written in October 2011 by Gary McDougal, UPS director for more than 30 years, called for the Postal Service to be turned over to UPS, Dimondstein noted.

The Postal Service performed well during this holiday season, but could have performed even better were it not for a requirement that forces the Postal Service to pre-fund healthcare for future retirees at a cost of approximately $5.5 billion annually, Dimondstein pointed out. That crushing burden chokes the Postal Service and robbed it of the ability to serve the people to its full potential, he said.

“The corporations want the private side to do it all,” he said. “And this is where it leads to – higher prices and less service.”

The Postal Service is able to provide better service less expensively because it operates on a non-profit basis, Dimondstein said.

The APWU will unite with the American people to preserve this Postal Service, he said. “It needs to be vibrant. It needs to be expanded.”

 

Video: Fight to save the USPS from extinction

Republicans continue their attempts to destroy the backbone of America, the United States Postal Service. Ed Schultz and Mark Dimonstein discuss.

Read more: Fight to save the USPS from extinction | MSNBC.

Postal Reform Bill — “Wait Til Next Year!”

From NAPUS:

napusYesterday, at about 3:45 PM EST, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Tom Carper D-DE pulled the plug on consideration of S. 1486 for the year. Up until that time, the Carper-Coburn postal reform bill was scheduled on the committee calendar for a Wednesday morning “markup”. Nevertheless, committee consideration of the bill was predicated on the ability of the Chairman and Committee Ranking Republican Tom Coburn R-OK to reach an agreement on a “managers’ amendment” to replace S. 1486, as introduced.

During fall hearings on S. 1486, both Senators recognized the imperfections in the bill and pledged to collaborate on a managers’ amendment to address the problems; however, a number of key disagreements between the Senators could not be resolved by Tuesday afternoon. In addition, many doubt that even if such an amendment was to have been constructed, it would have been able to garner the support of a committee majority 9 votes. So, on Monday evening, a “chairman’s substitute amendment” was under consideration, but that possibility fizzled by mid-Tuesday. Under normal circumstances, all amendments should have been filed by 5:00 PM EST, on Monday, but the rule could be waived with consent of the Chairman and Ranking Republican. In any event, committee members filed 25 amendments by the Monday deadline.

Over the past week, NAPUS Legislative Chairs represented by Senators serving on the Homeland Security were in communication with their Senators, and, on Tuesday morning, were explaining NAPUS’ positions on the key filed amendments and the underlying provisions in the bill.

In sum, a legislative reset may take place early next year, possibly with a much narrower measure that addresses just the retiree pre-funding issue and some other issues, and such a bill would probably need to be considered by the committee by Presidents’ Day. And, just in case you forgot about the House of Representatives, there has been no effort to schedule H.R. 2748, the Issa postal reform bill, for floor action.

Read more: NAPUS.

Senate Panel Postpones Consideration of Postal Bill

A Senate committee has postponed consideration of a controversial postal bill that was condemned by postal unions. Members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs were scheduled to meet on Dec. 18 to act on S. 1486, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) in August.

“We’re pleased that Sen. Carper has postponed a committee vote on the bill,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “But our fight is not over.”

The presidents and legislative officers of the four postal unions met with Sen. Carper and his staff on Dec. 17. “We had a frank and productive discussion,” Dimondstein said.

“We need legislation that will end the manufactured financial crisis and protect the USPS as a public postal service. The four postal unions are committed to working together to accomplish those goals,” he said.

 

Darrell Issa: Poster boy for our disgraceful Congress

A poll recently found that “Americans currently have a higher opinion of witches (46/32), jury duty (73/18) and hemorrhoids (53/31) than Congress.”

In today’s New York Times, Bloomberg’s Albert R. Hunt reminds us of some of the causes of our disgust with our legislators. Not surprisingly, most of the blame falls on the radical “tea party” wing of the Republican Party, which has been allowed to block legislation supported by majorities in both Houses of Congress. But Hunt’s poster child for our disgraceful Congress isn’t a tea party true believer- it’s the consummate opportunist (and self anointed postal service “watchdog”), Darrell Issa:

Darrell-Issa-007This session, Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has held hearings on the Internal Revenue Service, the deaths of Americans in Libya, the Affordable Care Act and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The proceedings have been characterized by unsubstantiated charges, rogue behavior, misleading leaks and a refusal to consider anything that might prove contrary to the chairman’s objectives.

With a reckless disregard for facts, Mr. Issa habitually calls his targets liars. He has been an embarrassment to more than a few fellow Republicans.

I suppose postal workers can take some solace from the fact that Issa’s cynical obsession with turning the Benghazi tragedy into political hay left him less time for more of his “hearings” on the USPS. (Why do they call them “hearings” anyway? The guy who puts them on obviously doesn’t “listen”!)

Hunt’s solution to our national disgrace?

The only way this spiral ends is an election that either ratifies or repudiates the Republican right.

Let’s hope it’s the latter!

Read more: Lawmakers Pass Blame, but Not Bills – NYTimes.com.

Issa Applauds Canada Post for Ending Door to Door Delivery

darrell-issa-chairman

Press release from Darrell Issa:

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today applauded Canada Post, the Canadian postal service, for moving to phase out expensive to-the-door delivery for paper mail. Chairman Issa, chief sponsor of H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013, has advanced similar reforms.

“As technology advances, the Canadian people are changing the way they use paper mail. Canada Post has recognized this reality and responded to it. The Canadian government is supportive of its decision to modernize,” said Chairman Issa. “The American people have also changed the way they use paper mail and the cash-strapped United States Postal Service must respond accordingly. Likewise, Congress and the Administration need to grant USPS the flexibility to modernize its mail delivery and eliminate unnecessary costs.”

The vast majority of American homes do not receive expensive to-the-door delivery, but instead receive less expensive curbside or centralized delivery. The Postal Reform Act, which was approved by the Committee in July, would require USPS to transition 30 million delivery points over 10 years. This provision will save the financially distressed USPS at least $4 billion per year and is one of the largest opportunities for USPS savings.

Canada Post ended expensive Saturday delivery of paper mail for its customers in 1969. Issa’s legislation would also allow USPS to do the same, saving additional billions. A Senate companion bill also includes provisions to end the forced delivery of paper mail on Saturdays and delivery point modernization.