Senate postal reform would reduce USPS payments into FERS

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The chair and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee introduced a postal reform bill that would change the way the Office of Personnel Management calculates how much money the Postal Service pays into federal pensions.

The bill (.pdf), introduced Aug. 2 by committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), would reduce the amount USPS pays into Federal Employees Retirement System and the Civil Service Retirement System in light of differences between postal and non-postal workers.

Postal workers have a shorter life expectancy and their pay tops out lower than most federal workers, a committee aide told reporters during a press call.

The new formula would give the USPS a $6 billion refund from how much the agency has paid into FERS. That money would only be able to be used to pay the Postal Service's debt to the Treasury Department, the aide said.

Unlike the House version of the postal reform bill (H.R. 2748) which passed House Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee July 24, the Senate bill does not mandate a new 5-day delivery schedule. The bill instead extends the normal 6-day mail delivery for another year.

Both bills would move older door-slot delivery units to curbside delivery mailboxes or neighborhood boxes. Door-slot delivery costs the Postal Service, on average, $353 per unit per year, a committee statement says. Delivery to curbside mailboxes cost the Postal Service $224 per unit per year.

Both bills would also establish a USPS chief innovation officer. The position would entail innovating nonpostal products and services that would maximize revenue to the Postal Service.

The Senate committee aide said there had been no formal coordination with the House on the bill, but there had been some discussion at the end of last year. There is also no definitive timeline for the bill, but a hearing should come shortly after the August recess.

For more:
- go to the THOMAS page for H.R. 2748
- download the Senate bill

Related Articles:
House Committee approves postal reform bill
Postmaster general supports idea of chief innovation officer
Issa calls for 5 day delivery and modified benefits payment in USPS reform bill