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LTS—Getting On Our Game Faces
By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS Executive Vice President
We are entering final preparations for the 2019 Legislative Training Seminar, March 10-13. Our deadlines are fast approaching. If you have not done so, please go to www.naps.org and register.
Following are key LTS dates:
As I write this, the NAPS Legislative Team and I still are looking at what issues we will be taking to the Hill. Regardless, we know the USPS still is in need of postal reform. This legislation is needed to address the debt from the mandated prefunding that was part of the 2006 “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” (PAEA).
The postal reform legislation we followed in the previous session of Congress offered many opportunities for financial growth and sustainability for USPS employees. Shipping beer and wine, limited banking and providing some state-level services were some of the innovations postal reform pursued.
Also addressed was re-amortizing the existing USPS retiree prefunding debt over 40 years (75 years in advance) with the opportunity to reinvest current pre-funding monies in TSP-like vehicles to afford the USPS the latitude to complete the prefunding in an increasingly expedited manner. And the legislation called for creating an inspector general of the postal community and bringing together the USPS OIG and PRC OIG functions as one unit with dual reporting.
We still are looking for legislation to address the continuing issue of MSPB appeal rights for all EAS employees. This issue is important to pursue with legislation until we have secured this fair and equitable adjudication process for all EAS employees. This type of legislation has a limited area of impact, which is challenging. This legislation cannot move forward as a stand-alone bill, but needs to be placed as a rider to another piece of legislation with broader impact.
Our grass-roots efforts will focus on educating a record number of new legislators on the congressionally appointed mission of the USPS. The need for this education comes from the November midterm election that saw 44 congressional seats switch to freshmen Democrats.
All told, there are 111 new Senate and House members of Congress: 67 Democrats and 44 Republican. Your 2018 SPAC efforts helped NAPS pave the way to an over 92 percent win rate for candidates we supported. Thank you for your continued support. Unfortunately, our efforts in Senate races did not yield the same positive results. The Democrats lost two champions of postal issues: Sens. Claire McCaskill and Heidi Heitkamp. We thank them both for their support of a strong Postal Service for rural America.
The issue of rural mail delivery once again may prove to be as vital a talking point with legislators as it was when addressing the ill-conceived Operational Window Change (OWC) process. OWC decimations to service will be felt four years or more after the failed initiative was enacted.
There is much work for us to do when we visit the Hill this year, brothers and sisters. I am looking forward to seeing you all at LTS in March and celebrating all you did in 2018 and will do in 2019.