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NARFE, federal employee unions object to Senate postal bill

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Two federal employee unions, along with the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, are wading into the fight over postal legislation.

In a joint letter to members of a Senate committee released yesterday, NARFE, the American Federation of Government Employees, and the National Treasury Employees Union objected to provisions in a Senate bill pertaining to the federal workers’ compensation program and the U.S. Postal Service’s hopes of revamping its participation in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

You can read the letter here; whatever the merits of the arguments, it’s safe to say that the opposition of three organizations that normally don’t focus on postal issues is likely to lengthen the already long odds of any major postal legislation winning congressional approval this year.

The bill was introduced last month by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. Carper chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service; Coburn is its top Republican.

“As I’ve said before, our bill isn’t perfect and I expect it to improve as our conversations continue,” Carper said in a statement. “It is my hope that in the coming weeks, Congress, the Obama administration and stakeholders can come together to enhance this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it’s too late.”

To that end, the committee plans two hearings later this month, Carper said in the statement. While a committee spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on specific dates, FedLine is told by one source that the sessions are tentatively scheduled for Sept. 19 and Sept. 26. Possible witnesses include Postmaster General Pat Donahoe; Postal Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Ruth Goldway; officials from the Government Accountability Office and USPS inspector general; and union and mailing industry representatives.

 

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