Postal bill stalls in the Senate


The Senate took a surprise first vote on postal legislation today. The result: Lawmakers probably won’t be trying again before mid-April.

The bill is the 21st Century Postal Reform Act (S.1789); the vote, which came this afternoon, was on a procedural “cloture” motion to see if supporters could muster the 60 votes needed to move forward with debate. As it turned out, they couldn’t. The motion picked up only 51 votes, with most Democrats voting in favor and most Republicans opposed.

The Senate hadn’t been expected to take up the bi-partisan bill until tomorrow at the earliest. Why lawmakers proceeded today was the subject of two schools of thought. By one reading, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Ct., and the measure’s co-sponsors wanted to gauge the level of support as they keep negotiating with other lawmakers on crucial details. By another, majority Democrats simply wanted to get off debate on a separate measure to repeal oil and gas industry tax breaks because it was giving Republicans an opportunity to highlight high prices at the pump. Whatever the motive, the postal bill’s backers may have some work to do.

In a statement afterwards, Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat and co-sponsor, said he looked forward to the Senate considering the legislation after lawmakers return from an Easter/Passover break the week of April 16.

“I don’t think this vote accurately reflects senators’ feelings on the legislation, though,” Carper said. “In fact, it’s clear that the bill enjoys support from senators on both sides of the aisle who recognize that we must act quickly if we hope to save this American institution.”

If signed into law, the bill would let the U.S. Postal Service tap surplus pension fund contributions to offer buyouts and early retirement incentives to up to 100,000 USPS employes. Here’s a link to an official synopsis that lists the measure’s other highlights.


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  1. Postalworker on

    This is a great Bill and must pass, if the usps is too survive! At least those opting out would receive an incentive and not be forced out or require that all new people be forced out! The petition above and the petitioner is not living in the real world and somehow thinks he is saving jobs???

  2. Pass this bill– Many other jobs depend on the Posral Services survival. A delay in the delivery standards is a death sentance to the Postal Service. There are 4.6 million Federal workers and voting against this bill would create chaos ro an already week economy, harm the middle class workers and provide yet another harm to our loyal veterans who fight for our country!!!

  3. There are thousands of CSRS employees hanging on to get the incentive so the sooner it is passed the quicker the USPS will save money from their salaries. Replace a 25+ year Manager with a new younger employee could save as much as 25K a year in salary. This will also allow for younger employees jobs to stay safe when cuts have to be made. Congress needs to get off their butts and get this done!!

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