On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation authored by Congressman Peter DeFazio that he said would provide the United States Postal Service with much-needed financial relief.
A release from DeFazio said the legislation will end the prefunding mandate on future retiree health benefits. It passed by a vote of 309 to 106, with 87 Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
DeFazio said Americans and businesses around the country depend on a reliable Postal Service. He said this is especially true for rural areas and for seniors in the 4th District, who count on six-day service and door-to-door service for their mail and prescription medications. He said “the unreasonable pre-funding mandate has threatened the survival of the USPS and placed its vital services for the millions who rely on it, at risk”.
The release said in 2006, Congress passed a law to require the USPS to prefund 75 years-worth of retiree health benefits in the span of ten years- at a cost of approximately $110 billion. Although the money is intended to be set aside for future Post Office retirees, the funds are instead being diverted to help pay down the national debt, according to the release.
DeFazio said no other private enterprise or federal agency is required to prefund retiree health benefits on a comparable timetable. He said the mandate is responsible for all of the USPS’s financial losses since 2013.