Save America's Postal Service rallies were held across the country Tuesday, each drawing dozens to hundreds of postal workers and supporters.
Many of the individual rallies were small, but they were everywhere. In Joliet, Illinois, 200 workers rallied and brought 3,000 petition signatures to the office of Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican who insists on referring inaccurately to the Postal Service asking for a "bailout." Dozens gathered outside Rep. Dave Reichert's office in Washington state. In Washington, D.C., a suspicious package reported within blocks of the planned rally left dozens marching and chanting on a street that had been blocked to pedestrian and car traffic. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Charleston, West Virginia. Chico, California.
In Troy, Michigan, Rep. Gary Peters pledged his support for a bill addressing the Postal Service's financial problems—that would close a loop, since those financial problems were themselves created by Congress in 2006.
“The public needs to know why the postal service is in a financial mess,” Dick said. “If it was not for the unprecedented pre-funding of the Retiree Health Benefit Fund, the postal service would have actually made a profit of $611 million over the last four years.”
At the crux of the issue is a 2006 federal mandate that requires the postal service to pre-fund future retiree benefits for the next 75 years, and do so within 10 years. Supporters of the proposed legislation say the bill would fix the pre-funding requirement.
Peters said passing the legislation is critical to the future of the postal service, as prefunding the benefits have put a strain on day-to-day operations.
"This would allow for day-to-day operations so we can continue to get the service we expect," Peters said. "And it will ensure the postal service has the financial strength to survive."
H.R. 1351 has more than 200 cosponsors, including a few Republicans, and would allow pension overpayments to be put back toward the Postal Service.
Funding retiree benefits is good. Requiring one agency to fund retiree benefits so far into the future that they're funding the benefits of people who haven't been born yet, while not requiring other federal agencies, let alone private businesses, to do so is decent evidence that the knives are out for the Postal Service, that this isn't about legitimate concern for retirees but about killing off a public good.