Legislative Update


On December 16, 2009, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, which provided federal funding for 2010 and became Public Law 111-117. The law provided the Postal Service with $118 million for free and reduced rate mail for the blind and overseas voters, along with the annual $29 million payment pursuant to the Revenue Forgone Reform Act of 1993. The annual rider mandating six-day delivery was continued in the law. Also included was report language dealing with stations and branch closures; a request for an updated GAO study on Postal Service operations; and requests for the Postal Service to develop a legislative proposal in coordination with OPM and OMB on the pre-funding of retiree health benefits.

For fiscal year 2011, Congress passed P.L. 111-242, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, on September 30, 2010. However this Continuing Resolution did not contain any provisions for the Postal Service, such as the requested deferral of $4 billion for pre-funding of retiree health benefits, nor did it include compensatory appropriations for revenue forgone by the Postal Service for providing free and reduced rate mail for the blind and for absentee voters overseas, as required by law. During the upcoming session, Congress may address fiscal year 2011 appropriations requests within an omnibus bill, but there are no assurances that this will occur.

Postal Operations Sustainment and Transformation (POST) Act of 2010

On September 23, 2010, S. 3831, the Postal Operations Sustainment and Transformation (POST) Act of 2010 was introduced in the Senate. This measure seeks to address a wide array of fundamental structural changes, including but not limited to the following: modifying the existing methodology used by OPM to calculate Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) obligations and transferring any surplus to the PSRHBF; giving the USPS greater authority and flexibility in decisions regarding closure of Post Offices, including changing the prohibition against closing Post Offices solely for economic reasons; amending the current law requiring mail delivery six days per week; giving the USPS greater latitude in providing a broad selection of non-postal services; providing for enhanced leasing and licensing authority; and requiring an arbitrator to consider the financial health of the Postal Service when deciding collective bargaining agreements. S. 3831 was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

CSRS Overpayment

As noted in the Liquidity section previously, the Office of Inspector General and an independent actuary reporting to the PRC have each estimated that the Postal Service has over-contributed to the CSRS by at least $50 billion. As a result, H.R. 5746, United States Postal Service’s CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010, was approved by the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia on July 21, 2010. The measure would change the methodology for calculating the amount of any postal surplus or supplemental liability under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). H.R. 5746 does not address the immediate liquidity shortfall facing the Postal Service because it does not alter the statutorily-mandated payments to pre-fund retiree health benefits.


Introduced on July 29, 2010, H.R. 5919 would grant the Postmaster General the authority to implement up to 12 non-mail delivery days each fiscal year. The measure would require that six months prior to a fiscal year, the Postmaster General submit a report to the Board of Governors listing the dates on which non-mail delivery would occur. Employees whose normal work schedule falls on a non-mail delivery date would be entitled to receive their normal pay and benefits for that day. The bill was referred to a House committee.

Facilities and Operations

H.R. 4612 would amend Title 39, United States Code, to provide that the procedures governing the closure or consolidation of stations and branches be the same as those for Post Offices. Introduced in February of 2010, the measure remains in a House committee. Because the Postal Service already actively seeks input from communities impacted by efforts to right-size our network, we do not believe that additional legislation is needed specifically for stations and branches, as such actions would hinder our ability to become more efficient.

Several bills (H.R. 5004, H.R. 4895, and S. 3145) were introduced in early 2010 that would amend Title 39, United States Code, to require that the Postal Service ensure reasonable and sustainable workloads and schedules for supervisory and management employees. These measures would impose additional requirements in managing supervisory and management staff. These bills contain very broad proposals, such as requiring “reasonable and sustainable workloads and schedules.” It is not clear what these terms would require of the Postal Service. These measures would also impact the current method of consultation in place for managers and supervisors, since these categories of employee are not covered under collective bargaining agreements. None of these bills has moved beyond introduction.