Monday, July 14, 2014

APMVG: Legislative scorecard, Key legislation: The Postal Service, 113th Congress

In case you were wondering what I thought on how to save the postal service, my legislative portfolio on the subject is found here.

H.R. 630: Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-4) introduced H.R. 630, the Postal Service Protection Act of 2013 on Feburary 13, 2013. It would allow the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide any non-postal service or product that is consistent with the public interest.  It would allow the USPS to ship beer and wine according to relevant state laws.  It would create a position of Chief Innovation Officer for the USPS who would be appointed based on his or her success in the shipping industry.  Finally, the bill would call for a dramatic overhaul of the pension system for postal service workers. It would re-calculate and restore retirement annuity obligations and eliminate the requirement that the USPS pre-fund the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits fund.  185 co-sponsors have signed onto the bill, 176 of which are Democratic and 9 are Republican. (+7 for author and original co-sponsors, +5 for later co-sponsors)

H.R. 961: Representative Stephen Lynch (MA-8) introduced H.R. 961, the United States Postal Service Restablization Act of 2013 on March 5, 2013. The bill, if passed, would re-calculate the contributions made by postal service employees using the normal cost percentage method and multiplying it by the basic pay payable.  It would then use any surpluses caused by this re-calculation to pay down the postal service debt. There are 169 co-sponsors to this bill, 159 are Democratic and 10 are Republican. (+4, +2)

H.R. 2690: Representative Elijah Cummings (MD-7) introduced H.R. 2690, the Innovate to Deliver Act of 2013 on July 16, 2013.  The bill, if passed, would allow the postal service to participate in non-postal activities consistent with the public interest.  It would also allow the postal service to ship beer, wine, and distilled spirits consistent with state law.  It would require each piece of mail to cover both its direct and indirect costs.  It would call for the position of Chief Innovation Officer for the USPS.  Finally, it would modify the pre-payment schedule to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund by amoritizing health care liabilities, reduce the prefunding of the compensation fund to 80% of actual liabilities, and delay payments to the fund until fiscal year 2017.  There are 22 co-sponsors to the bill, all are Democratic. (+6, +4)

H.R. 2615: Representative Adrian Smith (NE-3) introduced H.R. 2615, the Securing Access to Rural Postal Services Act of 2013 on July 8, 2013. This bill would prohibit the USPS from closing more than 5% of post offices within a calendar year.  If the USPS feels the need to close or consolidate post office branches, they would have to send surveys to the customers affected and give them alternative options.  If the post office has to be closed, the USPS would have to honor the alternative preferred by the customers to ensure that they are served with access to post office facilities.  There are 8 co-sponsors to the bill, 6 are Republican and 2 are Democratic. (+3, +1).

H.R. 4670: Representative Darrell Issa (CA-49) introduced H.R. 4670, the Secure Delivery for America Act of 2014 on May 19, 2014. The bill would attempt to phase out door delivery of mail and move to curbside delivery or other centralized boxes.  Essentially, the bill would allow the mail to be delivered similar to how it is delivered to apartments.  The bill would allow for exemptions if you had a physical hardship, if you lived in a historic district, among others and would ask the public for recommendations, as well.  There is one co-sponsor to the bill.  He is a Republican. (-3, -1)

H.R. 2748: Representative Issa introduced H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013 on July 19, 2013.  Like H.R. 4670, to the door delivery would be phased out and would focus on clusterboxes and curbside delivery.  The USPS would maintain Saturday delivery for packages and medicines, for at least five years, but advertisements and bills would be phased out.  Five full-time executives would be appointed with the stated mission of turning around the USPS.  Once it has been turned around, the positions would be eliminated. Some postage rates would be changed upwards to cover the cost of delivery.  Postal workers would be required to pay the same premium contribution for life and health insurance that current federal workers pay.  The USPS would be allowed to sell advertising space on vehicles and facilities; postal service facilities would be allowed to provide state and local services, such as the sales of hunting and fishing licenses.  All future payments to the Retiree Health Care Benefits fund would be based on an actuarial calculation intended to achieve full funding by 2056.  The bill would also stop surpluses in the USPS's pension from going to cover operating losses of the postal service. The bill has 2 co-sponsors; both of whom are Republicans. (-5, -3).

Note: The lowest possible score for the Postal Service portion of the scorecard is -1.33; the highest is 3.

Note #2: My table isn't working. Darrell Issa's score is -1.33. Blake Farenthold's score is -1.33. Dennis Ross's score is -0.83.

Note #3: My table isn't publishing at all, highest scores were as follows:
Jackie Speier: 2.167
14 members of Congress tied: 1.83 (Tony Cardenas, Alcee Hastings, Mike Honda, Kathy Castor, Lacy Clay, Peter Welch, Alan Grayson, Marcy Kaptur, William Keating, Emanuel Cleaver, Pedro Pierluisi, Corrine Brown, Bennie Thompson, Danny Davis, and William Enyart)

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