Proposed Pension Hit on Postal Employees: H.R. 6684 Passes the House BUT the Senate Won’t Consider It

Warning-Challenges AheadFredric Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers

We took quite a few calls here at NALC Headquarters yesterday from folks like you who told us they were having trouble getting through to a jammed Capitol Hill switchboard. It’s really gratifying to hear from so many active and retired NALC members who responded to Thursday’s e-Activist message—as well as our special text-message blast—and called their House members to urge a “no” vote on H.R. 6684. If you were one of the ones who tried to call your representative and spread the word, thank you.

Unfortunately, the Republican-led House still wound up passing H.R. 6684 by a largely party-line vote of 215 to 209. This unfair budget measure calls for increasing federal workers’ pension contributions by another 5 percent over the next five years, a plan that would hit active letter carriers just as hard as their fellow workers in other government agencies. The good news is that the pension hit on postal employees will not become law—the Senate will not consider H.R. 6684. We also can take some comfort in the news that 21 Republicans broke party ranks and joined every House Democrat in voting against H.R 6684. Our challenge in the future is to convince more of the GOP to stand up for letter carriers and other middle-class workers.

Meanwhile, you might also have read that House Speaker John Boehner yesterday abandoned plans to introduce his so-called “Plan B” tax bill, because he discovered that he didn’t have enough votes to get it passed. Apparently, too many of his GOP colleagues didn’t like the parts of his bill that raised taxes on millionaires; it seems they are more interested in forcing middle-class Americans like us to make all the sacrifices and accept cuts in our hard-earned Social Security, Medicare and federal pension benefits.

So as we head toward Christmas, New Year’s Day and the end of the 112th Congress, there remains great uncertainty whether the fiscal cliff combination of tax hikes and budget cuts can be avoided. President Obama says he is ready to negotiate a compromise, but to get one, he needs willing Republicans to come back to the table.

In the words of a great philosopher, “it ain’t over til it’s over.” Congress could still return to work after Christmas to act on a budget deal—and maybe even some type of postal reform—before this session ends. So stay alert—we will keep you posted.

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