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Issa calls for 5 day delivery and modified benefits payment in USPS reform bill

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took up his ongoing cause again this year: reforming the Postal Service.

Issa released draft language for a bill (.pdf) that addresses both the USPS's call for 5 day delivery and modifies how the service pays for future retiree benefits. Issa brought a postal reform bill to the House last year but it never made it to the floor.

Issa's plan would allow USPS to immediately stop the 6 day letter delivery and turn it into a 5 day modified schedule where packages are still delivered on Saturday.

The proposal also modifies the requirement that USPS prepay for future retiree's healthcare. In 2012, USPS defaulted on two of those scheduled payments, which cost the agency $11 billion.

The new plan allows the USPS to not pay the scheduled 2013 prepayment. All future payments, starting in 2014, would be based on actuarial calculations, which would bring a drop in USPS's annual payment.

President Obama also called for the switch to actuarial payments in his fiscal 2014 budget proposal. The Government Accountability Office estimated (.pdf) in December 2012, the USPS could save $3 billion annually from the change.

The plan calls for increased use of secure clusterbox mail delivery, while phasing out to-the-door delivery. The change would save the service $4 billion annually, Issa said.

What's different from Issa's plan this year, as opposed to last year's is that he eliminated the proposal for a BRAC-style commission to determine mail processing consolidation. Issa said the USPS over the last two years has proven that it can reduce infrastructure costs on its own.

For more:
- download the draft language (.pdf)
- download the report, GAO-13-112

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