Senate to Vote This Week on Privatizing the VA

There is pending legislation on Capitol Hill that could lead to a total dismantling and Veterans Affairs 1privatization of the healthcare system our veterans want and need.

Last week, the House of Representatives voted 347-70 to pass S. 2372, the VA Mission Act. Now the bill goes to the Senate.

We need you to call both of your Senators NOW at 833-480-1637 and tell them you strongly oppose the VA MISSION Act (S. 2372).

Every dollar spent on privatized care deprives our veterans of the specialized care offered in our VAs – specialized care that saves their lives and helps veterans heal faster.

The VA MISSION Act (S. 2372) –

  • The legislation gives a VA Secretary the authority to privatize and dismantle broad swaths of the VA health care system;
  • The legislation gives the next VA Secretary broad authority to dismantle the VA at a time when the VA faces intense political pressure to pursue privatization;
  • The legislation will devastate communities by closures of vibrant VA medical centers;
  • The legislation will lead to privatization at the expense of full-staffing and resources needed for VA’s in-house operations.

Please call both of your Senators right NOW at 833-480-1637 and tell them to oppose the VA MISSION Act (S. 2372).

Once you hang up, please call 833-480-1637 again to speak with your other Senator’s office.

In Solidarity,

MaryBe McMillan

President, NC State AFL-CIO

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Senators Show Bipartisan Support for 2018 Postal Reform

On Thursday, March 22, four senators introduced S.2629, “The Postal Reform Act of 2018.” The senators responsible for the bill are Tom Carper (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

The newly introduced bill has in it important elements from the House Oversight and Postal Reform 1Government Reform Committee’s Postal Reform Act of 2017 and Senator Carper’s “Improving Postal Operation’s Service and Transparency Act (iPOST)” which were both introduced in the previous Congress.

In a statement released by NALC President Fredric Rolando he said: “NALC thanks and commends the bipartisan authors of this proposed legislation for working to strengthen the Postal Service. America’s letter carriers appreciate the significant improvements contained in the bill over prior reform efforts.”

Among the proposed improvements in the bill are (1) securing the country’s universal delivery system by protecting six-day delivery; (2) rejecting unnecessary changes to door delivery service for business and residential customers; and (3) exempting annuitants and their eligible spouses from the proposed mandate to enroll in Medicare Part B at age 65 if they can derive no benefit from enrolling or if enrollment would cause extreme financial hardship.

“We thank all four senators,” Rolando said, “for their creativity in developing a variation of the Medicare-based approach to postal reform.”

To view the full NALC article, go here.

GOP to Push Forward on Repealing Health Care Today (Tuesday)

From People’s Action concerning the GOP’s health care bill and today’s (Tuesday) vote in the Senate despite the majority of nation’s citizens being opposed to any bill that would health care 1take away health care from millions of people:
 
Republican leaders are back at it.
 
Today at 2:15pm Eastern, they will begin voting on repealing our health care, even after their bill collapsed last week.
 
Senators don’t even know the details of what they’re being told to vote on. But we know it will be deadly. Every CBO analysis shows tens of millions losing health care.
 
People will miss out on cancer treatment and lose life-saving medications. Rural hospitals will close. People with disabilities will be forced into institutions.
 
Many people will die.
 
Just so drug and insurance corporations can make more money and billionaires can pay less in taxes.
 
Call your senators before 2:15pm Eastern. Tell them to vote NO and stop this cruelty. Tell them to protect Medicaid and health care for everyone in our country.
 
Please forward this message to your friends and ask them to call, too.
 
Thank you for being a health care champion,
 
Sarah Chaisson-Warner
People’s Action

Federal Employees Call-In Day Opposing White House’s 2018 Budget

Letter carriers and other federal employees — past and present–and their adult family members are being urged to call their senators and House representatives today to voice Call Congress 2opposition to the White House’s 2018 budget. A flyer from the NALC gives information on why this bill is a financial threat to letter carriers, the USPS, and other federal employees can be found here: NALC flyer.

The flyer reads in part:

Since 2011, postal and federal employees have been ripped off time and again–to the tune of more than $180 billion–in the name of deficit reduction. Without any additional benefit, we’ve seen a three-year pay freeze, reduced pay increases, unpaid furlough days and two increases in retirement contributions for new hires.

You are asked to call 844-904-7029 (Washington, DC) and 855-982-3154 and urge your senators and House representative to oppose this budget.

To see what’s at stake for you and your family, go to NALC flyer.

Letter Carriers, Family and Friends Urged to Call Congress Opposing Cutting Salaries and Gutting Service

From NALC’s Government Affairs Office

The White House released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal in May. It called for a variety of budget cuts aimed at federal employees—letter carriers included—cuts that Budget Battle 2017are are now being actively considered by Congress, including:

  • Raising federal employees’ pension contributions by up to 6.45 percent of pay over the next six years, costing active letter carriers up to $3,600 per year.
  • Eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for current and future retirees under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
  • Reducing COLAs for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitants by one-half of 1 percent (that is, 0.5 percent) each year.
  • Reducing CSRS and FERS pension benefits for new retirees by basing annuities on employees’ highest average pay over five years (high-5) instead of over three years (high-3).
  • Eliminating the so-called “Social Security supplement” that covers the gap for workers who retire under FERS before they qualify for Social Security benefits at age 62.
  • Calling for $46 billion in vaguely defined cuts and revenue changes to the Postal Service, most likely through reducing the frequency of delivery (eliminating Saturday delivery) and scaling back door delivery.

These budget threats are very real. All letter carriers—as well as family members, friends and neighbors—need to contact representatives in the House and Senate now and through the end of September. Your legislators need to know that their voters object to slashing the incomes of active and retired letter carriers (and all federal employees) and to gutting the services and vital networks of the U.S. Postal Service.

Member Action Center

Call your legislators in Washington now

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and be ready to provide your ZIP code to get connected with your House representative and with both of your senators.

Say:

“As a voter from [your district/your state], I urge you to oppose any budget resolution or any spending bill that calls for pay and benefit cuts for letter carriers, postal employees and federal employees or that attacks the vital services provided by the Postal Service.”

Mention how such cuts would affect you personally. Explain the potential harm a “yes” vote would mean for you, your family members, your co-workers and USPS.

Also, ask your adult family members, friends and neighbors to call their House member and both senators, as well.

Read more by going here: nalc.org

BREAKING NEWS: North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones Co-Sponsors Important Postal Resolution

Walter Jones 2Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-NC-3) has just added his name as co-sponsor of H.Res. 28, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the U.S. Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of door delivery for all business and residential customers.”
By signing the resolution, Congressman Jones becomes the 239th representative to co-sponsor and only the fourth congressman in North Carolina, joining Alma Adams (D-NC-12), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) and David Price (D-NC-4).

You can email Congressman Jones here: Email Me to express your appreciation for his action. Or you can call his Washington office at 202-225-3415.

For a Fact Sheet on H.Res. 28 go here: Door Delivery

Senate Health Bill Would Increase Uninsured By 23 Million and Cripple Medicaid

NALC Legislative Dept

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Better Care Reconciliation Act this week, following seven years of promising the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) and after weeks of negotiations following the House of Representatives’ passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), a bill that the Senate said it could not and would not pass.

The Senate’s legislation, which is different from what the House passed in May, is expected to be voted on in tMitch McConnell 2he Senate next week before senators depart Washington, DC, for the July 4 recess. Following that vote, the Senate and House bills will need to be reconciled before a single bill heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature. Both measures are projected to increase the number of Americans who are uninsured by about 23 million.

With Senate floor action expected next week, all letter carriers should contact their senators and urge them to oppose this attack on middle-class workers and their families.

Among the defining characteristics of the legislation are provisions to deregulate insurance companies, which would allow them to charge older and sicker Americans more for health insurance, and to eliminate the individual mandate to buy health insurance and the mandate for larger companies (with 50 or more employees) to provide employer-sponsored health coverage.

Ending the individual mandate would undermine the individual insurance market and the Obamacare health care exchanges, while ending the employer mandate would help non-union companies drop coverage to gain an advantage over unionized firms.

Over time, the bill would cripple Medicaid by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal-state program that covers tens of millions of disabled Americans, poor children and the elderly in nursing homes, a program that was expanded by the ACA to cover more of the working poor. Such a move would force states to deny coverage to millions of low-income Americans.

In addition, the bill would reduce tax credits for health premiums purchased on health care exchanges and repeal virtually all of the taxes on high-income Americans and health insurance companies, all of which helped to fund Obamacare’s expansion of health insurance to more than 20 million American families.

The bill also would give all 50 states the opportunity to drop benefits required by the ACA, such as maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment. While it retains protections for patients with pre-existing conditions (insurers must accept everyone and charge the same rates), the legislation would allow states to waive insurance requirements. This waiver includes rules governing which benefits must be covered, thereby allowing states to drop coverage on troublesome, expensive conditions. Reducing coverage requirements is a convenient way for lawmakers to promise continued pre-existing conditions protection without actually having to deliver it—insurance companies could simply choose not to cover chronic ailments that afflict millions of Americans.

Enactment of this legislation would result in a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. The only Obamacare tax preserved is the so-called “Cadillac-tax,” an excise tax on health benefits above a certain value that is expected to raise insurance premiums for letter carriers and other middle class workers.

With Senate floor action expected next week, all letter carriers should contact their senators and urge them to oppose this attack on middle-class workers and their families. The number for the Senate switchboard is 202-224-3121.

(photo:ABC Columbia)