On behalf of the 32 member unions of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), including the National Association of Letter Carriers, I urge you to support and co-sponsor the United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011 (H.R. 1351), a common sense piece of legislation that would restore fiscal stability to the postal service. As a broad coalition of transportation unions, we understand the important role that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plays in the movement of mail and goods throughout the country.
If Congress does not take action before the end of this fiscal year, the Postmaster General has warned that the USPS may not be able to meet a requirement that it pre-fund future employee health benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion each year. This unreasonable, onerous requirement was implemented in 2006 with passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. Not only is this requirement not imposed on any other government agency or private sector company, the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (PSRHBF), to which the payments are due, already contains enough funds to cover retiree benefits for the next 20 years. In 2006, the Postal Service viewed this Congressional mandate as challenging, but achievable. However, the economic downturn and subsequent decrease in mail volumes have caused the USPS significant financial hardship, made more difficult by the health benefit pre-funding requirement.
Congress must take steps to alleviate this burdensome requirement. H.R. 1351 would begin a process to ensure financial stability for the USPS. Previous postal service overpayments into the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System would be applied to the PSRHBF. This would allow the USPS to use its own funds (not taxpayer money) to resolve its short-term financial problems and avoid any disruption in a vital service for American households and companies while the Postal Service adapts to meet the evolving postal needs of the country.
The importance of the USPS to the national economy cannot be overstated. Even in the internet age, retailers, advertisers, and household bill payers depend on reliable postal service. In addition, many private sector delivery companies rely on the USPS for “last mile” delivery services. A postal service in good financial shape is imperative to the seamless flow of goods, commerce, and our transportation system.
I urge you to support and co-sponsor H.R. 1351.