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May 2nd, 2012
As Senate Passes Post Office Bill, Grijalva Encourages House to Offer Badly Needed Remedy – Offices May Close Soon Without Fix

Tucson, Ariz. – As the Senate today voted to approve S. 1789, a bill that would delay post office closures, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today called on the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to bring up a bill to keep post offices open without cutting worker benefits or making other unnecessary cuts that would hurt Tucson and other communities around the country.

Because the Senate bill makes deep reductions in postal employee benefits, Grijalva said the Senate bill is “hard to support,” although he said a version of the bill’s two-year moratorium on ending Saturday delivery – pending further Post Office information-gathering on how closures would impact different areas – should be taken up in a stronger bill that would fix the problem permanently. He pointed out that post office closures “are the furthest thing from a partisan issue, and are exactly the kind of problem that demands a quick response.”

“Congress created this entire situation when it mandated unusual set-asides for pension and health funds that no other government agency has to cover to the same extent,” Grijalva said. “We can fix this, keep Tucson’s postal sorting center open indefinitely, and make sure Southern Arizona doesn’t lose badly needed services if we just let the Postal Service operate normally and leave well enough alone. The Senate bill takes half a step in the right direction, and the House needs to take the whole step before we start closing sites that we won’t be able to open again easily.”

Features of today’s Senate bill include:

·         Cuts to workers’ comp. benefits

·         Prevents the U.S. Postal Service from cutting Saturday delivery for two years, and only then if the agency can prove that such a cut is needed as a last resort

·         Caps executive pay for high-ranking USPS officials at $199,000 (Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe made $384,000 last years)

·         Lets USPS borrow $11 billion more from the Treasury (totaling $26 billion)

·         Eliminates controversial pre-funding level of health care benefits for retirees

·         Will force USPS to maintain some one-day delivery of first-class mail, which is expected to save about half of the mail processing plants slated for closure

Will take the retirement overpayment to pay down current debt

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