On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to vote in favor of H.R.2382, the USPS Fairness Act. This critical bipartisan legislation would repeal the destructive and unprecedented 2006 retiree health benefits prefunding mandate imposed on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which required the USPS to prefund its retiree health benefits program for 75 years. However, 13 years later this burdensome mandate has done more harm than good to the agency. Year after year, this mandate has nearly financially crippled the USPS, running up a $5 billion annual price tag. It is responsible for 92 percent of USPS losses over the last twelve years, and 100 percent of losses over the past seven years. These losses have prompted the USPS to make service cuts, stopped the agency from reinvesting in itself as it competes with other delivery services, and spurred legislative attacks and threats to its continued existence. No other federal agency, or private business, has been forced to operate in this self-defeating manner.
Recognizing these problems, Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Tom Reed (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) introduced H.R.2382 to end this arbitrary and needless mandate. These congressional leaders, and more than 300 Members of the House who have cosponsored this legislation, understand the critical service the USPS provides and the more than 600,000 middle-class jobs it supports. Failing to pass H.R.2382 puts critical services like six day shipping, door to door service, and delivery to the most remote corners of our nation at risk, alongside the livelihoods of the hardworking employees of USPS.
The Postal Service continues to play an important role as a component and user of our transportation system. And as the agency continues to achieve record revenues and growth, passage of H.R.2382 is essential to its future. The agency should not be burdened with unique constraints that only serve to threaten its mission and are not imposed on private companies or other government entities.
I urge you to support this critical and overdue legislation, and to ensure that we continue to have a Postal Service that provides reliable service to all Americans and supports good-paying jobs across the country.
Larry I. Willis