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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 DeFazioPelosi wants Biden infrastructure bill done by August The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes Senate Democrats reintroduce bill to create financial transaction tax MORE (D-Ore.), Tom ReedTom ReedHouse panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations Fitzpatrick replaces Tom Reed as House Problem Solvers co-chair These House lawmakers aren't seeking reelection in 2022 MORE (R-N.Y.), Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHillicon Valley: Parler claims it alerted FBI to threats before Capitol riot | Warner presses Zuckerberg to tackle vaccine misinfo on Facebook, Instagram | U.S. schools increasingly resuming in-person learning Parler says it alerted FBI to threats before Capitol riot Let's end the Postal Service political theater and create needed reforms MORE (D-N.Y.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHouse panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations Fitzpatrick replaces Tom Reed as House Problem Solvers co-chair The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors MORE (R-Pa.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas) and in the Senate by Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesTrump faces test of power with early endorsements OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum MORE (R-Mont.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzGeorgia law makes it a crime to give food, water to people waiting to vote Senate Democrats reintroduce bill to create financial transaction tax GOP lawmaker introduces bill targeting tech liability protections 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 TrumpHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Man arrested for allegedly threatening to stab undercover Asian officer in NYC Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech 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.