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Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was escorted in by New York NAPS members. She thanked attendees for their dedication and commitment to service.
“Each of you has a stake in the financial health of the Postal Service,” she stressed. “It’s vital to me, as well. The Postal Service supports businesses and communities across the country and is a critical hub that supports millions of jobs. It’s truly an organization that binds and unites our nation.”
Maloney acknowledged the significant financial challenges facing the agency and the danger of running out of cash. “The Postal Service will not be able to pay its own workers and delivery could cease,” she presaged. “The USPS has taken significant steps to control costs, including shrinking the network.”
Maloney talked about saving five post offices in her district that were targeted for closure. She asked for a cost/benefits analysis that showed all five offices made a profit. Despite her success, though, she said making a profit can’t be the only criteria.
“Everyone in the country needs to get their mail,” she affirmed. “And that’s why the Postal Service is so extraordinary. You help make that happen every day. But we have a huge problem of huge financial losses.”
Maloney said she was proud to have supported H.R. 2382 that repealed the prefunding requirement. “That will make an important change to help address the dire financial condition,” she contended. “It passed the House overwhelmingly. We all should call on the Senate to take it up and pass it immediately.”
She affirmed that postal reform legislation must correct the injustice of nonappeal rights to the MSPB for some supervisors. She referred to H.R. 6085, the “Postal Supervisors and Managers Fairness Act of 2020,” that was just introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly. “I will work with him to address the issues in the bill,” she pledged.
Maloney stressed that it’s time for Congress to put the Postal Service back on the path of financial viability. “My committee is working on reform legislation to do just that,” she said. “We want to provide the USPS 10 years of financial stability so it has the time necessary to adjust its business model to the realities of the 21st century economy.
“I am supportive of doing everything to support this effort. I welcome your engagement; my door is always open. The Postal Service touches every American’s life—rich and poor, rural and urban; it ties us together. All members of Congress have a stake in ensuring the successful future of the Postal Service. I look forward to working with you and your leaders to moving toward solvency in the 21st century.”
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) told NAPS members he was pleased to be with them. He mentioned his fondness for turtles (something he has in common with Bob Levi). Why turtles? “It’s because of two main things,” he explained. “Remember the story of the turtle and the hare? That’s how I like to pursue life: Stay steady and stay focused; endure until the end. The second reason is a poster I have over my desk I’ve had for years that reads: ‘Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.’”
Clyburn thanked everyone, especially his friends from South Carolina. He said he always has been in favor of six-day mail delivery and against privatizing the Postal Service. “I’ll always be in favor of doing what is necessary to ensure and protect the rights of working men and women in this country,” he insisted.
He shared a couple things with NAPS members that he feels very strongly about. “This is a great country,” he declared. “I stand before you today as one who has worked hard all my life trying to get this country to maintain its promise.”
Clyburn said he researched the Pledge of Allegiance in preparation for this year’s campaign. The pledge has been around since the Civil War, but it did not become the pledge until 1942. It was not named the pledge until 1945; Congress also inserted the words “under God.” Clyburn said he remembered it well because he had to recite it every morning at the beginning of school.
“The part that really resonates for me is the last phrase: ‘with liberty and justice for all.’ As I studied that, I developed a pledge that I make to the American people. On Feb. 1, some billboards went up around Charleston that read: ‘Making the greatness of this country accessible. And affordable. For all.’
“That is our critical admonition. I don’t care if it’s health care. Health care is important only if we make it accessible and affordable for all. Same thing for education, housing, energy. Our job is seeing to make it all accessible and affordable for all. That is what our primary and overarching obligation must be to those destined to come after us.”
Clyburn talked about his wife of 58 years who died last year. She grew up on a farm; he grew up in town. “Our backgrounds and experiences were totally different,” he said. “We did not see the world the same way. It meant there were going to be differences of opinion. If we were going to have a successful marriage, I knew I was going to have to make some adjustments, and I made them.
“We have to make this country’s greatness accessible and affordable to all. We have to reconcile our differences in such a way we can continue to move this country along so we can leave if for our children and grandchildren—a country worth having.”
Clyburn shared something he learned from his father, a fundamentalist minister: Don’t let the little disagreements cause so much friction that they separate us. “We will not always agree on everything,” he intoned. “We will not always agree on the ways to accomplish whatever it may be that we set out to do. Let us not let our little differences cause too much friction. If you do, it will tear us apart and the world will render us asunder.
“Thank you for all you do. I look forward to working with you to accomplish all you wish to accomplish. This country is a great country; our job is to make it accessible and affordable for all.”
Former NAPS Illini Vice President Dan Rendleman introduced Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), the original cosponsor of H.R. 6085, the “Postal Supervisors and Managers Fairness Act of 2020.” Rendleman said it was an honor for him to introduce Bost—a true friend of his and of NAPS. “He’s a strong supporter of the Postal Service, coming from a rural area,” Rendleman said.
Bost thanked NAPS for inviting him to join delegates at LTS. He represents 12 counties in the very rural southern part of Illinois.
“We’re thankful to you for getting the mail to us every day,” he said in appreciation. “The Postal Service has a history as old as our nation.
“Rural communities in southern Illinois depend on you. You’re reliable—six days a week—and often the only means for small businesses to engage in commerce, as well as residents having something delivered to their homes.”
Bost said he spent 20 years in the Illinois General Assembly and has gotten to know many NAPS members; many of whom are great friends. “Your support and friendship mean a lot to me; I thank you for that,” he said.
The congressman was a cosponsor of H.R. 2382 and, with Rep. Gerry Connolly, introduced H.R. 6085. “You should be paid accordingly,” he affirmed. “Not only does the Postal Service need this to recruit supervisors and managers, it’s vitally important to keep them and maintain them until retirement.”
Bost pointed out both these bills were bipartisan. “That’s a word you don’t hear too much,” he pointed out. “It’s critical that we work together. I hope we continue to reach across the aisle to work on important issues.
“I serve with some great people; some of my best friends are on both sides of the aisle. You don’t have to compromise, but you find common ground. It’s better for your district, your state and our nation—our children and our grandchildren.”
Bost said everyone comes to DC and runs for Congress for different reasons. “My reason is my 11 grandkids,” he declared. “I want to make sure their future continues to go on an upward trend. When we care for workers out there like you or others, we’ve got to work with you—not in a partisan manner and fighting against each other.”
For more about the 2020 Legislative Training Seminar (LTS), click on the links below: