Issa overrules majority of House members, refuses to allow vote on Lynch bill

(Perhaps one of the constitutional scholars in the Tea Party can tell us which article provides that a bill supported by a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives can be defeated “because Darrell says so”?)

From the American Postal Workers Union:

House Panel Approves Postal ‘Destruction’ Bill

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved an amended version of the Issa-Ross postal bill on Oct. 13 by a vote of 22-18. All but one Republican (Rep. Todd Platts of Pennsylvania) voted in favor of the bill; Democrats voted against it.

The APWU has denounced the bill, H.R. 2309, as a “reckless assault on postal services and postal employees.” The bill demands that the USPS implement $3 billion worth of cuts in post offices and mail processing facilities in a two-year period. It also would reduce “door delivery” by 75 percent.

In addition, the legislation would gut collective bargaining: The amended bill prohibits postal unions and the USPS from negotiating protection against layoffs.

Bill Guarantess Layoffs

The Postal Service announced in August that it wants to reduce the workforce by 220,000, and is seeking authority to lay off as many as 120,000, including tens of thousands of military veterans. H.R. 2309 would authorize layoffs; the wholesale elimination of post offices and mail processing facilities demanded by the legislation virtually guarantees that massive layoffs would take place.

The bill also would empower a new “solvency authority” to unilaterally cut wages and abolish benefits.

“This legislation would destroy the Postal Service as we know it,” President Cliff Guffey said. “It would lead to drastic cuts in service to the American people, and it would pave the way for privatization of this crucial public service.

“The bill violates fundamental principles of our nation: fairness, the right of workers to engage in free collective bargaining, and respect for seniority,” he said.

“The APWU will continue the fight to save America’s Postal Service,” Guffey said. “We will be joined by our brothers and sisters in the other postal unions, veterans, senior citizens, and communities that rely on a robust Postal Service.”

Other Amendments

In addition to the amendment that would prevent bargaining over layoffs, several other amendments were adopted: An amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) would remove postal employees from the federal injury compensation program and would require the USPS to develop a separate program for workers who are hurt on the job. It also would force disabled employees to retire as soon as they are eligible.

An amendment offered by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would permit the Postal Service to eliminate up to 12 delivery days per year rather than requiring an immediate abandonment of Saturday delivery. An amendment offered by Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) would limit to 10 percent the number of rural post office closures.

An amendment offered by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) to evaluate the impact of layoffs on veterans was adopted. The amendment was introduced in response to an ad sponsored by postal union and VoteVets, a prominent veterans’ organization, decrying the layoffs of tens of thousands of veterans that H.R. 2309 would cause. The ad appeared in Washington publications that are widely read by lawmakers on Oct. 12 and 13.

“Two of the adopted amendments were clearly regressive,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid, referring to the prohibition on negotiating limits on layoffs and removing postal employees from the federal injury compensation program. “Some of the others may appear to improve the bill,” but they just “nibble around the edges” without changing its basic character, he said.

“If passed, H.R. 2309 would be a disaster for the USPS and for postal employees.” The bill must be passed by the full House and Senate and signed by President Obama before it can become law, he pointed out.

“H.R. 2309 fails to address the fundamental cause of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties,” Reid added. The bill does nothing to correct the requirement to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees, which forces the USPS to fund a 75-year liability in just 10 years, he said. No other government agency or private business is required to make these payments, which cost the Postal Service approximately $5.5 billion annually. The bill also fails to address billions of dollars in USPS overpayments to federal pension accounts, Reid noted.

GAO Report as a Backdrop

An Oct. 13 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that rejected the findings of the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) regarding USPS overpayments to the Civil Service Retirement System served as a backdrop to the deliberations. Two independent actuarial studies performed at the request of the OIG and PRC concluded that the USPS has overpaid $50 billion to $75 billion into the account, due to a faulty funding formula.

The OIG and PRC provided a vigorous rebuttal to the GAO report, and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) called it “terribly flawed.” Nonetheless, at the hearing, Rep. Buerkle and Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) cited the GAO findings and voiced reservations about their previous support for H.R. 1351, the bill postal unions are supporting.

The APWU issued a statement denouncing the GAO report, calling it “seriously flawed.”

“Fortunately, there are many in Congress who reject this discredited report and will continue to tell the truth about the need for reform and fairness on this issue,” the union said.

“The report was clearly designed to undermine support for H.R. 1351,” Reid said, “so APWU members will have to make sure members of Congress remain steadfast in their support for this important legislation.”

H.R. 1351 would help provide the Postal Service financial stability by allowing the Postal Service to apply the pension overpayments to the pre-funding obligation. It would provide the USPS with financial stability it needs to modernize and adapt to changes in communication.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), has 226 co-sponsors – including 29 Republicans. The number of co-sponsors is significant because it represents a majority of the members of the House of Representatives; nonetheless, Rep. Issa has refused to allow it to come up for a vote.

“I am deeply disappointed that Rep. Issa would thwart the will of the majority and prevent Congress from debating a bill that has wide bipartisan support,” Guffey said. “But he will not be able to stop the American people for long!”

House Panel Approves Postal ‘Destruction’ Bill.

  • Chuck Zlatkin

    Why didn’t the supporters of H. R. 1351 issue a discharge petition to move the bill to the floor? Once you get to 218 co-sponsors you can take that path which circumvents the power of the committee chair, in this case Darrell Issa.

  • firedonabloe

    Good question!! WHY? who EXACTLY dropped the ball? We need names!!!

  • firedonabloe

    I smell a rat and found it very suspicous that when they reached 218 they called for a vacation break to give Issa and Ross time for this scam.

  • Gregg

    The Morons are at it again.Why do these clowns like Issa and Ross wanna put the USPS in their crosshairs?? Don’t they have other pressing things to do,say a Gazillion dollar deficit.Politcians like Issa and Ross and the other Republican cronies are exactly why this country is in such dire straits.Go ahead and tear down the USPS.Don’t you worry about how many Gazillion americans will be affected.You think the jobless rate is high now,well you ain’t seen nothin yet!!

  • brian

    You’re over-dramatizing things. The bill had no chance of being passed in this House of Representatives. The Republicans who co-sponsored probably felt the need to curry favor with unions and postal workers in their districts, and were happy to co-sponsor, knowing they would never have to actually cast a vote on the bill. (And the idea that the House went on recess to avoid this particular bill is pretty bizarre!)

  • Aleman

    it’s time to remove issa

  • MIke

    call issas office talk to the guy, there so stuck on there lies its unreal

  • David

    Bill 2309 will never pass in the Senate, nor would Obama sign it, so let Issa pass whatever he wants in his imaginary world of “I am the ruler of the world”.

  • Isaac Cox

    Does anyone know exactly when Issa is up for re-election?

  • bob komar

    issas worth over 451 mil. this JERKWAD wants to put thousands of postal workers out of work.. the dominos FALL. NOW thousands more workers related to the mailing industry suffer..NO JOBS where do we go the unemployment lines.. THIS Kown HAS AN AGENDA TO PUT AMERICA into more of a FINANCIAL QUAGMIRE . democrats GROW SOME BALLS and investigare this Un American f-c-! who’s next on his list!!!!!!

  • bob komar

    issas worth over 451 mil. this JERKWAD wants to put thousands of postal workers out of work.. the dominos FALL. NOW thousands more workers related to the mailing industry suffer..NO JOBS where do we go the unemployment lines.. THIS Kown HAS AN AGENDA TO PUT AMERICA into more of a FINANCIAL QUAGMIRE . democrats GROW SOME BALLS and investigare this Un American f-c-! who’s next on his list!!!!!!

  • John

    It appears that government getting involved in USPS and business affairs is a movement in the wrong direction. It undermines the freedom of collective bargaining the preservation of rights of the American workers. Instead of legislating drastic measures like the prefunding which proved to be more costly and not beneficial, it’s time to look for solutions that preserve the very concepts of our Constitution and why we believe America is the best place to live. Turn it to the people and let the process of working toward a solution that benefits both the company and workers emerge. The postal service and employees are an institution who the public as relied on since the inception of our country. The American public has an long abiding deep respect for postal workers and to place their jobs in jeopardy and for the government to legislate business practices is unjust and wrong.

  • tom


    You know what to do in the next elections.

    Nuff said

  • Gary Darcy

    Issa and Ross must NOT make it past the primaries. Who are their potential contenders in the Republican primaries? Where do they stand on the USPS? For whatever reasons there are too many postal employees who still worship the Republicans.

  • stewart

    Mr. Issa should take a long look at what is considered to be an unfair labor practice. That’s what his bill is, and nothing more. The only way a collective bargaining can be altered is if the company files for bankruptcy. The question is, how would the USPS do in bankruptcy court. Can a company file if it has $45 million in a health care fund for future employees. Is that money really there, or as it been spent like social security? On a good note, all these attacks on the middle class and union might spark another labor movement.

    Mr Issa
    You will not defeat the unions. Don’t forget that the USPS doesnt run off tax dollars, they waste money like drunken sailors that can easily be proven, and they are way to top heavy. The answer is not to undermine the american worker, and break collective bargaining. I must say it’s fun watching you and Mr. Ross try to convince people to believe your lies.

  • calcarrier

    What part of California does this Assi lives? Get a recall going and whoever is his mail carrier should… fill in the blanks!

  • Susan

    I believe Issa lives in Vista , CA which is near San Diego. The people who live there are probably all rich, so they are most likely all Republicans and may re-elect this jerk.

  • commonlaw

    Read it and weep……real piece of work