One GOP Senator - Rick Scott - Delays Bipartisan USPS Bill
Credit: screenshot
February 15, 2022

Although Sen. Rick Scott on Monday delayed House-approved bipartisan legislation to reform the U.S. Postal Service, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the chamber's floor to promise that the bill will pass.

Scott (R-Fla.) objected after Schumer (D-N.Y.) sought unanimous consent to make a fix to the Postal Service Reform Act that cleared the House last week in a 342-92 vote. The Senate ultimately agreed to instead send the bill back to the House to correct the clerical issue.

"A majority -- overwhelmingly -- of Democrats and Republicans want us to fix the post office," Schumer declared, noting that the bill is also backed by key USPS leaders, including embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an appointee of former President Donald Trump.

"Everyone tries to come together and get something done, and the arcane rules of the Senate allow one person to stand up on a bill that's been out there -- and discussed repeatedly -- and at the last minute and raise objections," said Schumer. "It's regrettable and it's sad."

"There's good news, though: Even though this will delay the bill, we will pass it," he vowed. "We will have to just go through this elaborate process with the old-fashioned and often discredited rules of the Senate that the senator from Florida's employing."

Schumer said that "we will pass this bill because America needs it. Rural people need it. Senior citizens need it. Veterans need it—80% of the veterans' prescriptions are sent through the mail. Nobody should be standing in the way of this bill. It's a sad day that just one member has."

The Senate majority leader expressed hope that Scott "has heard from his constituents about snail mail, about everything coming late: prescription drugs coming late, Social Security checks coming late, birthday cards arriving weeks after the birthday occurred."

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) tweeted Monday that "we need to show that the public overwhelmingly supports this legislation."

The APWU urged people nationwide to call and "let your senators know that there is a truly unprecedented level of support for the USPS and this bill."

As Eric Katz reported Monday for Government Executive:

The bill would make sweeping changes to USPS operations, though its scope is slightly pared back compared to previous failed attempts at postal reform. The core of the bill will shift more postal retirees to Medicare for their healthcare and require most postal workers to select postal-specific healthcare plans. It would take onerous payments toward healthcare benefits for future retirees off the agency's balance sheets. It would also require more oversight of the agency's investments and performance, including a new public website for tracking results.

Though the bill is backed by at least 14 GOP senators, suggesting it has the support necessary to get through the Senate eventually, Scott on Monday expressed concern that the legislation didn't go through the chamber's committee process and sent a letter to the Congressional Budget Office director requesting more information about its budgetary effects.

Jacob Bogage, who covers USPS for The Washington Post, had noted in a series of tweets Sunday afternoon that Scott was threatening to delay the bill He said that if Scott followed through, sending the legislation back to the House was the "path of least resistance for Democrats."

However, the reporter pointed out, "there's growing concern among USPS officials that a bill that stalls—even temporarily—could open the door to a whole bunch of amendments that could act as a poison pill."

After the developments Monday, Bogage said that it is "very likely this drags into March, and the longer it drags on, the more danger befalls the legislation."

Republished from Common Dreams (Jessica Corbett, staff writer) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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