And New York Democratic Rep. José E. Serrano said USPS is acting outside its legal authority in suspending Saturday delivery. “The passage of the continuing resolution did not suspend that language, as they claim, but in fact extended it,” he said in a release.
He added he intends to work with Financial Services Committee Republicans to make sure the post office complies with “the letter and the spirit” of the law.
Congressional leaders did not question the need for some sort of change at the Postal Service, which faces declining mail volume as more Americans pay bills and do other business online. The agency lost $15.9 billion in fiscal 2012 and defaulted on $11.1 billion in pre-payments made to the U.S. Treasury to pre-fund future retiree health care costs.
Ending Saturday delivery of first-class mail will save about $2 billion annually, according to the Postal Service. Approximately 22,500 jobs will be eliminated. The Postal Service believes it can reduce the workforce through attrition rather than layoffs or buyouts, Donahoe said.
Carper and Issa pledged just after the New Year to continue working on overhaul legislation in the 113th Congress, and Carper has scheduled a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on the issue next week.
Donahoe said legislative leaders still need to work on near- and long-term employee health care costs, reimbursement of a $6 billion overpayment the Postal Service made for retirement payments, and flexibility on product offerings.
Issa said legislators were close to a compromise at the end of the last Congress but a few “what we think of as smaller issues,” such as how to deal with workers’ compensation, held up a final deal. He said workers’ compensation needs to be updated. “We think it’s good for the worker — either get them onto a retirement program or get them back to a job they can do,” he said.
Issa predicted “we should be able to get to a bipartisan bill this Congress,” and Rep. Dennis A. Ross, R-Fla., who worked on the issue last year, agreed.
Layoff clauses and retirement incentives were “hard votes for some people, so in order to get past the election, that was postponed,” Ross said.
“Now that you’ve got a new makeup in the Senate on this issue, and Issa’s still here in the House, I think you’ll see it move a little faster,” Ross said. “I think Issa has the votes now to get it on the floor, especially with what the post office is doing with five-day (delivery).”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.