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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced today he is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) entitled the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Fairness Act, which would repeal a mandate requiring the USPS to pre-fund its employees’ retirement health benefits. The USPS is the only federal agency subject to this requirement, which has caused significant financial strain. Senator Cramer cosponsored this legislation last Congress as well.
“Rural communities in North Dakota rely heavily on the Postal Service for secure and consistent mail delivery, but a federal mandate placed a severe financial strain on the agency that could mean the end of this vital service as we know it,” said Senator Cramer. “By eliminating this nonsensical requirement, our bipartisan legislation would help make the Postal Service solvent and ensure it remains available for those who need it.”
In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancements Act (PAEA) requiring the USPS to make pre-payments into the Retiree Health Benefit Fund for ten years. In 2013, the agency began defaulting on the pre-funding payments, with the cost of this mandate accounting for 100 percent of the net losses at the USPS.
The USPS Fairness Act would eliminate billions in defaulted pre-funding payments from USPS’s financials, relieving some of the pressure on the agency and allow it to return to a pay-as-you-go system of reimbursing the Office of Personnel Management for actual health premiums of current retirees.
The legislation is endorsed by the American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Association of Postal Supervisors, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, and the Communications Workers of America.