Today, Ranking Members Elijah E. Cummings and Stephen Lynch introduced comprehensive legislation to address the Postal Service's current financial challenges and make innovative structural changes to enable it to continue to deliver for decades to come.
"Our legislation will fundamentally change the Postal Service's business model so it can thrive in a changing marketplace," Cummings said. "Unlike other proposals that merely slash services, personnel, and facilities, our bill allows the Postal Service to return to profitability while honoring commitments to workers and preserving quality service."
"We, as Democrats, realize that changes are necessary and we have embraced that in this legislation," Lynch said. "However, we also insist that there are responsible ways to reform the Postal Service while protecting the interests of postal customers, employees and retirees. This legislation is part of the comprehensive reform that the Postal Service needs in order to improve its long-term financial viability without sacrificing customer service or placing undue burden on our dedicated postal employees."
H.R. 2967 , the Innovate to Deliver Act of 2011 (I2D), implements reforms in three core areas: profitability, personnel, and performance.
Highlights of the I2D Act include:
· It authorizes the Postal Service to enter into new lines of business that leverage its unique advantages, such as check-cashing, facility leasing, and retail services;
· It creates a new Chief Innovation Officer to drive the development of these innovative products and services, as well as new core mailing services;
· It corrects the overpayments made by the Postal Service to its retirement system, and it allows the right-sizing of its workforce by enabling the Postal Service to provide incentives for voluntary separation and early retirement;
· It streamlines procedures to ensure that the Postal Service's excellent performance record is preserved and improved; and
· It requires enhanced reporting to Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission on the Postal Service's plans for right-sizing its network by closing and suspending retail and mail processing facilities.
Many of the bill's provisions have the support of key stakeholders, such as the Postal Service leadership, postal unions, and the Administration.
Last week, Cummings, Lynch, and five other Members of Congress introduced a bill to extend by twelve weeks a Postal Service payment of $5.5 billion to its retiree health fund, thereby avoiding default and creating additional time for bipartisan negotiations. A shorter, six-week extension was included in the continuing resolution unveiled last week to fund the government's operations into the fall.