You Can't Trust the Senate to Live Within Its Means
In advance of the Senate's vote on the Postal Service bill, S. 1789, on the Senate floor last Wednesday, Senator Corker said the bill is further proof that "you absolutely cannot trust the United States Senate to live within its means."
Senator Corker said the postal service bill commits "generational theft" by violating budgetary limits for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 and adding $11 billion to the federal deficit. He voted against the bill, which passed by a vote of 62 to 37.
"A vote for this bill is a vote to add $11 billion to the deficit and a vote to break trust with the American people over the recently-passed Budget Control Act. Unfortunately, the Senate has shown in a bipartisan way that the American people cannot trust their elected leaders to stop the generational theft that is occurring. Hopefully, the House will be more principled in its approach," Senator Corker said.
The U.S. Postal Service lost $5.1 billion in this last fiscal year, $3.3 billion in the first quarter of this current year and is facing insolvency by as early as this October. First class mail volume has declined 20 percent over the last five years and is expected to fall another 20 percent by 2020.
"Rather than removing the handcuffs and enabling real reform so the Postal Service can compete in the marketplace and serve communities that depend on it, this bill punts the tough choices to a future Congress and further hamstrings the Postal Service with more mandates that will put it in even worse financial shape. It even requires the USPS to provide certain services at a loss. By not allowing the Postal Service the freedom it needs to operate like any other business in America, Congress is merely hastening its demise and demonstrating how little leadership there is in Washington." said Senator Corker.
Senator Corker offered an amendment (#2083) to the bill designed to provide broad flexibility so the USPS has the power to make appropriate business decisions to reduce excessive costs and compete in the marketplace without excessive congressional interference. Called a "genuine legislative solution" by the Washington Post, Corker's amendment would have saved the Postal Service $21 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 29 to 70.
"My amendment offered a balanced approach that would have saved the Postal Service $21 billion and provided it with needed flexibility as it works toward financial stability," Corker said. "The American people are losing faith in their elected leaders to actually solve problems that will help create jobs and grow the economy. It is time to unshackle this failing enterprise from government control over its business decisions before it's too late."
Appearing on CNBC's The Kudlow Report last Thursday, Senator Corker reiterated his disappointment in the bill. "[T]his is one of those things Congress does to keep itself popular at the expense of the taxpayer. I just hope the House will be more principled in what they do," said Senator Corker.
Trustees' Reports on Social Security and Medicare Demonstrate Urgency for Reform
Last week, Senator Corker said the annual reports from the Trustees for Social Security and Medicare demonstrate the urgency for reform of both Social Security and Medicare. The reports indicate the Social Security Trust Fund will run out of money in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year, and the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will run out of money in 2024.
"Today's reports confirm what we all know but Washington has been ignoring for years: Congress must act to reform and restore solvency to Social Security and Medicare and put our country on a path to fiscal sanity. Bold entitlement reform combined with long-term deficit reduction and pro-growth tax reform that lowers rates across the board will cause the economy take off. I will continue working with my colleagues in both parties toward that end," said Senator Corker.
Government Should Not Encourage Homeowners to Default
In an interview with CNBC's Rick Santelli last Wednesday, Senator Corker warned against a Treasury Department plan to encourage principal reductions on underwater home loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because it could incentivize responsible homeowners to stop paying their mortgages. Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government in 2008 and are overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency whose mission is to protect taxpayers from losses.