Bipartisan group of lawmakers proposes bill to lift rule putting major financial burden on USPS

Bipartisan group of lawmakers proposes bill to lift rule putting major financial burden on USPS
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A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill to ease a major financial burden on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) by eliminating a requirement that it fund retirement benefits decades ahead of time.

The USPS Fairness Act would do away with a 2006 law that mandated the USPS to form a $72 billion fund to pay for retirement health benefits for over 50 years, a requirement that is not imposed on any other federal agency. 

The legislation was introduced in the House by Reps. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioOn The Money: Bipartisan infrastructure group says it's still on track after Senate setback | House Democrats want input on bipartisan plan | McConnell warns GOP won't vote to raise debt ceiling OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon| House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Granholm announces new building energy codes Democrats warn leadership against excluding House from infrastructure talks MORE (D-Ore.), Tom ReedTom ReedThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Lawmakers brace for battles with colleagues as redistricting kicks off Hundreds of businesses sign on to support LGBTQ rights legislation MORE (R-N.Y.), Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHouse bill targets US passport backlog DOJ won't prosecute Wilbur Ross after watchdog found he gave false testimony NY progressive Bowman introducing 6B 'Green New Deal for Public Schools' MORE (D-N.Y.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDemocrats seek to calm nervous left Biden's corporate tax hike is bad for growth — try a carbon tax instead Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (R-Pa.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas) and in the Senate by Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate committee advances bipartisan energy infrastructure bill  Hillicon Valley: Lina Khan faces major FTC test | Amazon calls for her recusal | Warren taps commodities watchdog to probe Google Senators propose bill to help private sector defend against hackers MORE (R-Mont.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOn The Money: Stocks fall as COVID-19 fears rattle market | Schumer sets infrastructure showdown | Dems struggle to sell agenda The Hill's Morning Report - Surging COVID-19 infections loom over US, Olympics Democrats ramp up spending sales pitch MORE (D-Hawaii).

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“The unreasonable prefunding mandate has threatened the survival of the USPS and placed at risk vital services for the millions who rely on it. The prefunding mandate policy is based on the absurd notion of paying for the retirement funds of people who do not yet, and may not ever, work for the Postal Service,” DeFazio said in a statement

The introduction of the legislation comes as President Biden faces pressure from the biggest Postal Service union to install new USPS leadership. The department was thrust into the national spotlight late in the Trump administration for changes to mail delivery that critics said would impact the collection of mail-in ballots in a way that would benefit then-President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE

A similar bill to the USPS Fairness Act was passed in the House last year but languished in the GOP-controlled Senate. 

Advocates for changing the requirement say the fund has been a suck on the USPS’s finances. The department had gathered up $56.8 billion for the program to fulfill the mandate, according to the Postal Regulatory Commission report released last year, as the USPS falls deeper into a debt already worth billions. 

The USPS has said it backs repealing the mandate only as part of a deal to Medicare integration.