Sen. Susan Collins has, of course, expressed her concern about the sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) at the hands of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. What Collins doesn't want all of her constituents—the people for whom she calls the USPS "a lifeline," the "seniors, veterans, and those in rural areas who are depending on reliable mail delivery for essential goods and services"—to find out is that she's the person most responsible for this mess.
DeJoy can say he's making all of the cuts to services because of the dire financial situation of the USPS. Yes, we know he's doing it to try to right the election for Trump, but the financial crisis at the post office has given him the opportunity to do so. And Collins, more than anyone else, is responsible for that. She's the one who engineered this crisis. In 2005, Collins introduced the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), which required the USPS to prepay the next 50 years’ worth of health and retirement benefits for every postal service employee. It is the only federal agency that is saddled with this requirement. At the time, she was the chair of the Senate government oversight panel, and she got the bill through her committee and onto the floor in 2006. It passed on a voice vote on Dec. 20, 2006 in the lame duck session before Democrats took back control of the Senate.
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What the legislation required of the USPS was to calculate the entirety of its pension costs for the next three-quarters of a century—75 years—and spend the next decade putting away enough money to cover the majority of them. Which is insane. And has accounted for nearly 90% of the service’s red ink in the past decade. Right now, the USPS is $160.9 billion in debt for what it owes to prepay retirees, and has years' worth of operating deficits because it can't generate revenue under the restrictions placed by the law.
Collins is now trying to pretend like she's a savior of the USPS by sponsoring a bill with California Democrat Dianne Feinstein (a whole other story we're going to have to deal with eventually) to give it a $25 billion coronavirus bailout. After she laid the groundwork for this dumpster fire. That's not working for Maine's letter carriers. “She weakened the postal service to the point where people like our president can point to it and say, ‘There’s a crisis here,’” John Curtis, a retired letter carrier from Surry, told the Maine Beacon. “She helped set the stage for the current attacks on the postal service.”