House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) last month passed a postal reform bill out of his panel that, while controversial, moves closer to Democratic positions than his previous proposals did. Meanwhile, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) last week struck a deal with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), his GOP counterpart, on a bill in their chamber. Neither the House nor the Senate bill is perfect, but the willingness of the key parties to recognize the problem and adjust their proposals toward each other is a refreshingly positive omen.First off, to the editors of the Washington Post, the U.S. Postal Service's financial problems were caused by the Postmaster General, Issa and others in the first place, not by other factors at hand like say... Competition.
And you can't get anymore clueless like the Postmaster General in comparing the USPS to Greece:
The U.S. Postal Service “will look like Greece” if Congress fails to help it cut costs, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said.Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is really clueless. He looked at the situation in the U.S. Postal Service to Greece if nothing is done.
Donahoe, speaking today at the PostalVision 2020 conference in Washington, said the service’s annual expenses will rise to $81 billion by 2016 without congressional action to allow cuts, including reducing a requirement to pay in advance for health benefits for future retirees.
“If we don’t do something about the costs of this organization, we will look like Greece,” he said.
Just one problem Mr. Donahoe: The problem with Greece is debt, MOUNTING debt. And the debt is being slapped on the country's government more and more while austerity measures worsening the recession in the country and making its citizens riot continuously.
It always seems like people like Donahoe always use Greece as a fighting word or butt of all criticism to anything potential that can ail the U.S. or worsen it. People like Mitt Romney of course:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a potshot at California's bedraggled economy, comparing it to the crisis in Greece, as he warned voters on Wednesday that Barack Obama is leading the nation down a similar path of huge debt.Of course, we knew very well that Romney was full of crap because particular regions in California are in rebound mode and particularly in San Francisco, which has more rapid economic growth than most regions in the U.S.
"Entrepreneurs and business people around the world and here at home think that at some point America is going to become like Greece or like Spain or Italy, or like California - just kidding about that one, in some ways," he added, to laughter from his audience in Iowa.
More on Washington Post's air headed analysis of Issa's Postal Service bill:
The two plans have important similarities. Both, for example, foresee the Postal Service reducing time-consuming “to the door” mail service, replacing it with delivery to curbside boxes or community “clusterboxes.” Mr. Issa’s bill is the better of the two, because it allows the Postal Service to more rapidly adapt to reality. The Carper-Coburn bill would prohibit the closure of sorting plants for two years. Mr. Issa’s wouldn’t. Mr. Issa would allow the Postal Service to adopt a five-day delivery schedule for mail — though not for medication or packages — immediately. Mr. Carper and Mr. Coburn’s plan would delay that obvious reform by at least a year.However, even the Carper-Coburn bill is getting serious criticism from the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) per the APWU News web article:
The four postal unions sent a joint letter to Senate Majority Harry Reid on Aug. 5 [PDF] expressing “utter dismay” at the introduction of S. 1486, the postal bill co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.Here's the PDF of the full letter the APWU sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: http://www.apwu.org/...
The bill continues the disastrous policy of mandating massive pre-funding of retiree health benefits and provides for major downsizing measures to pay for it, the letter notes.
To afford pre-funding costs, “The Carper-Coburn bill would give the USPS tools to slash postal employees’ pension and health benefits by making these federal employee benefits subject to interest arbitration,” the presidents of the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association said.
“Our unions were not consulted about these proposed major changes to our rights as federal employees or to our collective bargaining process,” the letter points out.
S. 1486 would facilitate the dismantling of the Postal Service’s mail processing, retail and delivery networks, and would seriously harm the 7.5 million Americans who work in private companies that rely on the USPS, the union presidents wrote.
The bill would:
Destroy 80,000 full- and part-time jobs after a one-year delay, by eliminating Saturday mail delivery and give the Postmaster General authority to eliminate additional delivery days in the future;
Slash tens of thousands of additional jobs after a two-year delay, by allowing USPS to reduce delivery standards and close hundreds of mail processing facilities and thousands of post offices;
Mandate the elimination of door-to-door delivery, threatening at least 16,500 additional jobs, and
Impose “cruel and discriminatory” changes to the Workers Compensation program that would leave injured federal workers vulnerable to impoverishment when they reach Social Security retirement age.
“This massive downsizing and the bill’s assault on postal employee benefits are not necessary,” the letter says. “They are being driven by the irrational retiree health financing policy that no other business or agency would adopt. The Postal Service has already pre-funded decades of retiree health premiums, more than any other enterprise in America. Indeed, USPS has already set aside an estimated $49 billion for such premiums, approximately 50 percent of total expected costs over the next 90+ years.”
The letter urges Sen. Reid to “actively work to promote postal reform that will create jobs and innovation, not more job cuts and reduced service for the American people.
“The 30 members of the Senate who have co-sponsored S. 316, the Postal Service Protection Act of 2013, have taken the right approach. That bill would strengthen the Postal Service, promote innovation and, most importantly, resolve the retiree health and pension policies that have crippled the Postal Service in recent years,” it says.
The APWU has called on locals and state organizations to meet with lawmakers during Congress’ August recess to discuss postal reform. Together with members of the Mail Handlers Union, APWU members will ask legislators to oppose the Carper-Coburn bill as well as the House bill sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (H.R. 2748). Union members will ask members of Congress to support the Postal Service Protection Act (S. 316 in the Senate / H.R. 630 in the House). Members of the NALC and NRLCA will also talk to lawmakers during the recess.
So exactly, whose side is Congress on with regards to U.S. Postal Service reform?
Here's the necessary contact information you have to straighten out the following people in Congress:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
E-mail: http://www.reid.senate.gov/...Senator Tom Carper
Bruce R. Thompson
Courthouse & Federal Bldg
400 S. Virginia St, Suite 902
Reno, NV 89501
522 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
Toll Free for Nevadans:
600 East William St, #304
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-882-REID (7343)
Lloyd D. George Building
333 Las Vegas Boulevard
South, Suite 8016
Las Vegas, NV 89101
E-mail: http://www.carper.senate.gov/...Senator Tom Coburn
Washington, D.C. Office
513 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190
301 North Walnut Street, Suite 102L-1
Wilmington, DE 19801-3974
Phone: (302) 573-6291
Fax: (302) 573-6434
500 West Loockerman Street, Suite 470
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 674-3308
Fax: (302) 674-5464
12 The Circle Georgetown
Georgetown, DE 19947
Phone: (302) 856-7690
Fax: (302) 856-3001
172 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
1800 South Baltimore
Tulsa, OK 74119
100 North Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Washington Post Contact Information
Main Phone Line: 202.334.6000 or 800.627.1150
Address: The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20017
National WP Department: 202.334.7410 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As for Darrell Issa, he won't listen. No point in providing his office contact information or e-mail.
If you can't stand to hear more of Darrell Issa's antics, keep the San Diego County Democratic Party busy since they're the most local and active Democratic Party nearby Darrell Issa's area of residence (not to mention his local office).
Make sure you mark down this information and pass it on to others for firing up the base in California's 49th Congressional District if you want to target Issa for re-election and get voter registration drives going. If you can find someone in the CA-49 who can run against Issa in 2014, the more the merrier:
San Diego County Democratic Party Website: http://www.sddemocrats.org/
Address: 8340 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 10 San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (858) 277-3367
Fax: (858) 571-0275
Contact Form: http://www.sddemocrats.org/...
Oh and don't forget, the DCCC could use some action as well: (202) 863-1500