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Support SPAC to Elect Those Who Will Decide Our Future
By Bob Levi
NAPS Director of Legislative & Political Affairs
As we begin the second month of 2022, plans for the upcoming NAPS Legislative Training Seminar are coming together. We look forward to welcoming LTS delegates to an informative, educational and entertaining multi-day event in our nation’s capital. We have a lot of work to do on Capitol Hill.
In that regard, it is quite possible that the House already will have passed H.R. 3076, the “Postal Service Reform Act,” and sent the bill to the Senate for expeditious consideration of either the House-passed bill or the Senate version, S. 1720. If so, the legislation is one step closer to enactment.
Permit me to provide a brief update. Toward the end of December, certain legislative speed bumps were flattened that previously impeded a 2021 House vote. Specifically, in 2021, the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce committees had reserved their respective jurisdictions over the bill. As the ball dropped on the new year, it appeared the committees’ concerns were addressed.
In addition, in early January, the House was awaiting a revised Congressional Budget Office-prepared cost estimate of the bill, a reestimate necessitated by minor changes to the bill recommended by the Ways & Means Committee. The legislation continues to eliminate the Postal Service’s unfair requirement to prefund future retiree health benefits and lessens the agency’s extraordinarily large retiree health liability by better coordinating FEHBP and Medicare coverage for future postal retirees.
One of the issues NAPS brought to Congress a couple years ago was the importance of the Postal Service in providing essential goods to the American public during a national emergency, whether related to the weather, man-made or pathogenic. We pointed out the Postal Service is an under used national asset for the purpose of emergency preparedness and resiliency.
The Postal Service has been a major part of our government’s emergency response structure for quite some time. In fact, way back in 1813, Congress enacted a law that authorized free postage for mailing smallpox vaccines. More recently, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the accompanying threat of bioterrorism through anthrax, the federal government established the National Postal Model and the Cities Readiness Initiative.
Taken together, these two programs worked to maximize the rapid and wide distribution of medical products to protect the American public. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous administration toyed with the idea of using the Postal Service to mail all Americans face masks to protect them from the emerging pandemic. After brief consideration, unfortunately, the Trump Administration abandoned the idea.
However, in early January, there were press reports that the Biden Administration, recognizing the unique trust Americans have in their Postal Service and the institution’s unique capabilities to deliver to every address in the nation, was finalizing an inter-governmental agreement to deliver approximately 500 million coronavirus test kits to American households.
This is exactly the type of role for which the Postal Service was established. And, if this initiative comes to fruition, the Postal Service may need an emergency congressional appropriation to cover the postage for transporting and delivering the test kits.
On the postal governance front, in December, the Senate confirmed the renomination of Michael Kubayanda to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Once confirmed, Kubayanda reclaimed the PRC chairmanship, the position he temporarily vacated when his first term on the commission expired in November.
The PRC is operating with its full complement of five members. However, the Postal Board of Governors is functioning with one vacancy. Former Chairman Ron Bloom left the board in early December when his term expired. Confirmation of Daniel Tangherlini, nominated to succeed Bloom, is pending before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The individual nominated to replace Governor John Barger, Derek Kan, also is pending before the committee. However, Barger can continue to serve until Kan is confirmed. Although it does not appear there are any objections to either Tangherlini or Kan, their confirmation likely will follow Senate action on H.R. 3076 or its Senate counterpart, S. 1720.
A major element in NAPS being able to successfully promote EAS interests is our ability to elect NAPS allies to Congress. Just nine months from now, on Election Day 2022 (Nov. 8), all 435 voting members of the House and 34 Senate seats are up for election. With a 50-50 partisan tie in the Senate and a razor-thin Democratic seven-seat majority in the House, every race will count.
We’ve already identified at least eight highly competitive Senate seats, of which three do not have an incumbent running for reelection. The House is wide open, with reapportionment playing a major role; at least 37 current members are seeking reelection. Among the retirees is Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a NAPS member and champion of our interests.
Therefore, strong support of the Supervisors’ Political Action Committee (SPAC) is essential. Your generous contributions—through periodic payroll and annuity withholdings, at NAPS events and through the mail—help us support current members of Congress and elect worthy House and Senate candidates. Please support SPAC to help elect those who will decide our future.