Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) holding a beer. (DeFazio is chair of the House Small Brewers Caucus.)
Rep. Peter DeFazio
There have been a lot of bad legislative responses to the postal service's manufactured crisis, but while good answers to the problem aren't exactly a secret, there hasn't been a bill to rally around. Now there is, thanks to Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Bernie Sanders:
Rep. Peter DeFazio’s (Ore.) bill would end a requirement that USPS prefund future retirees’ healthcare, mandate that the service deliver the mail six days a week, give the service more revenue-generating opportunities and push the agency to bring back overnight delivery standards.

DeFazio’s bill contains the sort of proposals that many liberals and postal unions favor, and comes after USPS lost close to $16 billion in the last fiscal year—most of it from defaults on the prefunding requirement.

Sanders has been at the forefront of the fight in the Senate to keep bad things from happening to the postal service. To build support for the bills, DeFazio has created a petition with the White House.

While ending the prefunding requirement that no other government body or business faces is important, freeing up the postal service to find new sources of revenue would also be an enormous step. The agency needs to fund its retiree health care eventually, after all, even if the incredibly tight time frame Congress imposed upon it is unreasonable, and the artificial constraints imposed on what services the post office can offer makes that a much bigger challenge than it needs to be. Continuing cuts to the postal service—like cutting Saturday delivery—are likely just to accelerate its troubles, while the resulting job losses would be another challenge the jobs economy does not need.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by These Green Mountains and Daily Kos.

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