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The four sponsors of postal reform legislation in the Senate are asking the Postal Service to delay closing post offices and mail processing facilities until the new law is in place.
Host Mike Causey will talk about the top federal stories with Federal Times reporters Stephen Losey and Sean Reilly.
April 25, 2012
The Senate approved a bipartisan bill Wednesday aiming to restructure the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service. The final bill refunds USPS overpayments to the federal retirement system and clears the way for the agency to reduce its workforce by 100,000 positions but throws several hurdles in the agency's path toward closing underused postal facilities.
In a marathon series of votes Tuesday, the Senate considered more than a dozen amendments to a postal reform bill, approving a provision to limit all federal agencies' spending on conferences, but voting down an amendment expanding the federal workers' compensation program. Lawmakers also rejected an amendment that would have required retirement-eligible USPS employees to retire without a buyout payment. The Senate will resume voting on amendments Wednesday at 2 p.m. before voting on a final version of the 21st Century Postal Service Act.
An amendment to a Senate bill aiming to restructure the U.S. Postal Service's financial framework would institute new agency reporting requirements for retiring federal workers in anticipation of a "deluge of retirees" from USPS. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), introduced an amendment last week that requires the Office of Personnel Management to take new steps to chip away at the longstanding backlog of federal retirement claims.
Even if you never, or hardly ever, go to a Post Office there's a good chance you went there Tuesday to mail your taxes, and get an SOS from some worried postal employees, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.
This week the Senate is expected to take up legislation to reform the Postal Service. The bill could close post offices, end Saturday deliveries and return funds the Postal Service as pre-paid for retiree health benefits. USPS already has started considering how it would operate with a slimmed-down workforce.
The bill — introduced last summer by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) — would eliminate Saturday mail delivery, close mail processing facilities, require postal employees to pay the same percentage in their health and life insurance premiums as federal employees do, and allow the Postal Service to use nearly $11 billion in surplus retirement contributions.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testified today before a House subcommittee saying a USPS-sponsored plan would save $7 billion a year. Such a plan, Donahoe said, would offer equal or better coverage to current employees and retirees.
The Postal Service is on Capitol Hill today pitching its strategy to withdraw employees from the federal health insurance program.