June 10, 2014
By Kori Blalock Keller, NALC Legislative Director
Reprinted from Postal Employee Network
Washington, DC – Once again, Congress is dropping the ball on postal reform. Rather than working on legislation that fixes the crisis it created with the 2006 mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, and rather than formulating smart reforms that will allow the Postal Service to innovate and thrive in the 21st century, Congress instead focuses on counterproductive service cuts.
Highway Trust Fund and Elimination of Six-Day Mail Delivery:
The noise surrounding temporarily financing the Highway Trust Fund through the elimination of six-day mail delivery Is hitting a fever pitch. House Republican leaders are angling to bring their proposal up for floor consideration.
The House Republican leadership proposal, which was announced May 30 by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), would eliminate six-day mail delivery to “pay for” a short-term extension of funding for the Highway Trust Fund, to prevent a disruption of highway projects.
NALC President Fredric Rolando and the presidents of the three other postal unions sent letters to the House and Senate in opposition of this plan, and we are also working with affiliated transportation and postal unions to oppose this plan.
The Highway Trust Fund relies on a federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel sales; it’s currently set at 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel. The current rates were set in 1993 and have been eroded by inflation ever since. The decline in fuel consumption since 1993, coupled with increased spending on road construction, has resulted in insufficient dedicated tax revenues to support the current level of federal highway spending. The fund is expected to run out of money in August.
The House has been scrambling to find a pay-for to inject a temporary (one-year) infusion of $14 billion to $15 billion in cash into the trust fund before the House leaves for the August recess. House leadership claims that eliminating six-day delivery of mail would generate $10.7 billion over 10 years.
In response to this proposal, which has yet to be officially drafted into legislation, the NALC has been aggressively lobbying pro-six day Republican members of Congress on H. Res. 30, which now has 220 cosponsors from both parties.
Unfortunately, the attack on six-day delivery is not limited to the Highway Trust Fund or pending postal reform legislation. The House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, is working behind the scenes to draft an appropriations bill. For the first time since 1983, they are reportedly considering a base bill that does not include our long-standing six-day appropriations language.