Friday, February 08, 2013

D-Liver D-Letter D-Sooner D-Better



H. Res 30 expresses the sense of the House that the U.S. Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its 6-day delivery service. I was shocked that the principal sponsor of the resolution was Sam Graves, a very conservative congressman from Missouri. Rural Missouri. He was not toeing the Party line; he was paying attention to what his constituents want. H. Res 30 was immediately assigned to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by the #1 enemy of the U.S. Post Office Darrell Issa, who is dedicated on destroying and then privatizing it. The House bill tracking system at gives it zero chance of ever getting out of Issa's committee:

There are 54 co-sponsors, a dozen of whom are Republicans. This would have to grow gigantically before forcing Issa to take any action at all. Most of the Republicans co-sponsoring represent rural districts where the postal service is crucial. When Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) signed on as a new co-sponsor yesterday, she said "The US Postal Service is a vital resource for communities throughout our state and our country. Eliminating Saturday mail-delivery does not adequately address the issues facing the United States Postal Service. This is the wrong approach because the Postal Service will lose vital business and consumers will be hurt.”

Illinois state Senator Toi Hutchinson, who's running for the open congressional seat in the Southland second district understands why this is a salient issue. She's opposed to closing the post office on Saturdays and is letting voters in the district know it: "I represent rural areas that depend on the post office to be open and working six days a week. I don't agree with attempts to cut that short." Rep. Bruce Braley, the likely Democratic nominee for the open Iowa Senate seat, was one of the first House Members to sign on to Grave's resolution. Neither of his conservative Republican perspective opponents, Tom Latham or Steve King-- each incapable of acting on behalf of their constituents when their interests are at odds with right-wing dogma-- have not backed Grave's legislation. Matt Cartwright's northeast Pennsylvania district is a microcosm of America. It includes cities, suburbs, small towns and remote rural areas. He's another congressmember incensed over the decision to end Saturday delivery:
"The agency’s crisis is a direct result of an unsustainable congressional mandate imposed on the Postal Service by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). The federal law forces the Postal Service to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees and to do so in a 10-year period. No other entity-- public or private-- bears this burden. Since the PAEA took effect in 2007, the Postal Service has been required to pre-pay approximately $5.5 billion per year. Yet the same law prohibits the Postal Service from raising postage rates to cover the cost.

"The Postal Service has already slashed mail service by closing 13,000 post offices and drastically reducing hours of operation, shutting hundreds of mail processing facilities, and downgrading standards for mail delivery to America’s homes and businesses. The effects have already been felt locally in Scranton and today’s announcement will only place a greater burden on the 17th Congressional district.

The Postal Service has a mission that is bigger than making money. Our mail system is a vital part of the strength of our American infrastructure. In my view, we should not be allowing a culture of efficiency esxperts to downgrade pasrt of the pride of our great nation. Congress must take a holistic approach in passing comprehensive Postal Reform legislation addressing both the recent decline in mail volume as well as the strain placed on the Postal Service by the mandated PAEA."

Congress may force the post office to stop regular deliveries on Saturdays, but, as comedian Andy Borowitz suggested, it sure isn't going to force the Executive Branch to stop regular drone strikes on Saturdays... or any other days. Doug Tudor is not a comedian. He's a naval vet who ran for Congress in Florida a few years ago. Like many of us, he's concerned with what Issa and his right-wing allies are doing to the post office.

The Undermining Of The Postal Service Goes Beyond Darrell Issa
-by Doug Tudor

This week the United States Postal Service said they would cut Saturday delivery for first-class mail.  They did so because of their budget woes. It should be mentioned, though, the USPS never had any budget woes until Congress said they have to fund their retirement accounts for 75 years in the future. In other words, they never cost the taxpayer a single penny until Congress laid this 75-Year shitstorm on their head. Why would Congress do this? Campaign contributions, of course.

There is a tiny town in central Florida called Nalcrest. It only has a population of less than 500. The population, though, has a distinct hegemony. You see, Nalcrest, is an acronym for National Association of Letter Carriers-- Rest. In other words, NALCRest is a retirement community for the union members of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

From 2011 to 2013, Nalcrest’s representative in the U.S. House was Dennis Ross. Dennis Ross during the same time was the chairman of the subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Postal Service Committee. In this role, his every action went against the United States Postal Service, even as he was taking thousands of dollars from USPS competitors FedEx and UPS.

NALCrest is now in a new congressional district represented by Congressman Tom Rooney. Unlike Ross due to his subcommittee chairmanship, Rooney does not have the power to single-handedly bankrupt a town of his own constituents, except that he is a solid Republican vote for any crazy ass, lobbyist-fueled vote against the USPS. Like Ross before him, Rooney receives thousands of dollars from UPS and FEDEX.

Wonder why American Democracy seems to be broken.

Me personally, paying less than 50 cents to have a letter taken from the mailbox at the end of my driveway and delivered less than two days later to an end-of-driveway mailbox in San Diego is as American as Apple Pie, “Please Mr. Postman,” and “Take a Letter, Maria.”


And, no, neither Ross nor Rooney-- nor any other Florida Republican congressmember-- is cosponsoring Graves' resolution. Florida Democrats Lois Frankel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutsch are though.

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At 6:58 AM, Blogger Pats said...

People complain about the cost of postage. But you couldn't find a kid who would be willing to deliver a letter for 50 cents or a dollar, even if it was only a mile away. We pay less and get much more.


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