The Federal Workforce, Postal Service and Labor Policy Subcommittee doesn’t believe what its heard about the federal government owing the Postal Service billions of dollars as the result of the agency’s overpayment into its retirement funds.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering that the chairman of that committee is Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) who has co-authored a bill with Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that would gut the Postal Service and put thousands out of work.
Last month Ross wrote a letter to the Government Accounting Office (GAO) asking it to put those rumors to rest once and for all. Ross and his Republican colleagues on the committee are basing their doubts on the word of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM says the overpayments into the Postal Service’s retiree funds are a figment of someone’s imagination (That’s a paraphrase).
Ross’s committee and the OPM are at odds with the USPS Office of Inspector General, the Postal Regulatory Commission, PMG Pat Donahoe himself, plus two outside accounting agencies. They all have attested to the fact that there are billions of dollars floating around out there that belong to the Postal Service.
Since their word isn’t good enough, Ross’s committee has asked the GAO to come up with the definitive answer on the matter. In its letter to the GAO, the committee asked that it provide it with the following info: (1) Dtermine if the current methodology employed by OPM for allocating obligations between the USPS and the federal government for CSRS is consistent with the law; (2) comment on the actuarial analysis the USPS IG and Postal Regulatory Commission are using in their assertion that OPM should refund the CSRS contributions in question; and (3) comment on the potential impact that such a refund would have on the CSRS fund and CSRS stakeholders, USPS’s financial outlook, and other impacts they might identify.
That report is due back to Ross’s committee later this month.
While awaiting the report, the committee went ahead and approved legislation that would put an end to Saturday delivery.
Should the bill pass through Congress, it would also allow for the sale of advertising space at post offices and on mail trucks, and phase out most residential to-the-door deliveries in four years; would require customers with mailboxes at their front door to use curbside boxes or a neighborhood clusterbox; require postal employees to pay more toward retirement and health-care benefits; and establish a financial control board to oversee the Postal Service’s finances.It would also put 200,000 employees in the unemployment line and shutter thousands of post offices and processing plants.
Republican leaders in Washington aren’t the only ones who think this would be a great idea. Hamilton Davidson, executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association, says the Ross/Issa bill is “exactly the correct focus. Facilities, plants, people and frequency all need to be part of that.”
In one way or another we would all be part of that. Unfortunately.
(Photo credit: my.democrats.org)