Browsing: Darrell Issa

Issa unveils modified postal bill

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Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has just released a “discussion draft” of a bill intended to put the U.S. Postal Service on a more stable, long-term financial footing. The bill, which has not yet been introduced, bears some resemblance to the measure that the California Republican unsuccessfully pushed in the 2011-2012 session of Congress. It would, for example, temporarily replace the USPS board of governors with a presidentially appointed panel of five outside executives who would have the power to shake up the agency’s top management and take any steps necessary under the…

Lawyer: Postal Service board members risked "removal" over ending Saturday mail delivery

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Members of the U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors risked losing their jobs if the agency persevered with ending Saturday mail delivery following passage of a final fiscal 2013 spending bill. That was the warning delivered by an outside law firm April 5–four days before the board pulled the plug on the plan. Proceeding with five-day mail delivery “would entail a number of risks,” Jeffrey Bucholtz,  a partner with King & Spalding, wrote in a 17-page opinion prepared for the Postal Service’s legal department. “First, violating a federal law would likely supply cause for the President to remove the Governors.”…

Postal board faces tough decision on five-day mail delivery

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The U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors is set to meet tomorrow, according to a spokesman, and a thorny choice will likely dominate the agenda: Let Postmaster General Pat Donahoe proceed with a previously announced plan to end Saturday mail delivery this August, with a projected savings of $2 billion annually. Or back off—at least for now—to avoid a probable lawsuit, not to mention antagonizing members of Congress whose help is needed to pass any long-haul fix for the Postal Service’s finances. Among some observers, the betting is that the board will opt for door number two. “That’s the strong…

Postal legislation dead, but postal hunger strike continues

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The chances of postal legislation clearing Congress this year are now zero following the House of Representatives’ abrupt decision to quit town Thursday night. A band of five retired and current postal workers nonetheless is nonetheless persevering in a hunger strike as scheduled through Saturday. “We’re maintaining our guard,” Jamie Partridge, a retired city letter carrier from Portland, Oregon, said in a phone interview this morning. The group, encamped on the National Mall in downtown Washington, began the six-day fast at 9 a.m. Monday to protest efforts to end most Saturday mail delivery; they will keep going on until tomorrow…

Legislation tweaking Hatch Act goes to White House

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The Merit Systems Protection Board would be able to mete out a wider range of punishments for Hatch Act violators under a bill that won final congressional approval today and now goes to President Obama for his signature. Instead of firing violators–the only authorized penalty up to now unless the board unanimously opts for a different route–the MSPB  could issue formal reprimands; reduce violators’ pay grades; bar them from federal employment for up to five years; or fine them up to $1,000. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, sponsored the bill in the Senate; Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., handled it in the…

The Greatest Generation? Ponzi artists, congressman suggests

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SAN DIEGO | Politicians of all stripes pay homage to the Greatest Generation, as newsman Tom Brokaw dubbed the men and women who endured the Great Depression, helped win World War II, and went on create the most prosperous society the world had ever known. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., offered a less reverential footnote today, attributing the origins of today’s fiscal crisis to entitlement programs fostered by some of those same people. “The Greatest Generation created many of what the private sector would call Ponzi schemes,” Issa said at an Association of Government Accountants conference here.  “They created Social Security, they created Medicare on…

Rep. Issa: No stopping Postal Service default

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SAN DIEGO | Not that there was much doubt on this score, but Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., this morning confirmed  that Congress won’t act to head off a U.S. Postal Service default on a $5.5 billion payment into a retiree health care fund that is legally due Wednesday. The default “will occur,” said Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is the lead sponsor of a USPS overhaul bill. The payment was originally due last September, but Congress pushed back the deadline until Aug. 1. Issa’s comments came in an interview after he spoke at an Association of Government Accountants conference here.…

Showdown over mail delivery looming on Capitol Hill (but not this month)

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One way or another, it looks like a major congressional battle is headed our way over the U.S. Postal Service’s long-sought goal of ending most six-day mail delivery. One possible flash point is the postal overhaul bill (H.R. 2309) sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Dennis Ross, R-Fla., which would allow postal officials to begin moving to five-day delivery within six months of the legislation’s being signed into law. The House’s Republican leadership had hoped to bring the Issa measure to the floor this month; earlier this week, the National Association of Letter Carriers said its “most urgent goal is…

Why the Postal Service's halt to plant and P.O. closings may not mean much

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So, how big a deal is the U.S. Postal Service’s freeze on closings of post offices and mail processing plants? Less than you might think, perhaps. No doubt, today’s abruptly announced moratorium was made under mounting political pressure from Capitol Hill Democrats. “Cave-in” was how Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Dennis Ross, R-Fla., described it in a news release. But the long-term consequences for the Postal Service’s downsizing plans won’t necessarily be that pronounced. Last week, for example, a USPS spokeswoman told Federal Times that processing plant closings would start in April at the earliest. The five-month freeze would push…

Living people to be pictured on postage stamps and other USPS news

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Once again, there’s so much happening with the U.S. Postal Service that it seems simplest to package (no pun intended) the latest developments together. Here goes: 1) In that rare bit of news that doesn’t revolve around the mail carrier’s cratering finances, the Postal Service today announced that it’s changed a long-standing policy so living people can be depicted on postage stamps. Under the previous guidelines, an individual had to be dead for at least five years to be so honored; starting next year, Americans “will see acclaimed musicians, sports stars, writers, artists and nationally-known figures” on stamps while they’re…

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