The Senate approved a bill Wednesday aimed at restructuring the broke (and broken) Post Office, clearing the way for a massive reduction in the agency's workforce.
Passed by a 62-37 vote, the bill refunds overpayments the USPS made to the federal retirement system. That will allow it to pay for buyouts for some 100,000 retirement-eligible employees.
The bill also allows the PO to negotiate with its unions about moving postal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan and into a separate insurance program, as well as ending Saturday mail delivery.
A number of amendments to the bill, however, weaken the agency's ability to close postal facilities. While that may allow lawmakers to avoid the wrath of their constituents, it significantly undercuts some of the proposed cost savings in the original bill.
This proposal looks especially weak when compared to a genuine solution, such as the amendment Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) unsuccessfully proposed. His measure would have allowed five-day-a-week delivery implemented immediately, and eliminated costly no-layoff provisions in its labor contracts. So now any hope for real postal reform lies in a House-Senate negotiation. We won't hold our breath.
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