Once again, there’s so much happening with the U.S. Postal Service that it seems simplest to package (no pun intended) the latest developments together. Here goes:
1) In that rare bit of news that doesn’t revolve around the mail carrier’s cratering finances, the Postal Service today announced that it’s changed a long-standing policy so living people can be depicted on postage stamps. Under the previous guidelines, an individual had to be dead for at least five years to be so honored; starting next year, Americans “will see acclaimed musicians, sports stars, writers, artists and nationally-known figures” on stamps while they’re still with us, according to a USPS news release.
Postal officials are inviting members of the public to submit the top five living individuals they would like to see on stamps via Facebook and Twitter. People can also actually use a stamp to write the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Development, Room 3300, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20260-3501. And before anyone rushes to nominate their grandkids (or even a favorite mail carrier), keep in mind that the advisory committee is looking for folks “who have made extraordinary contributions to American society and culture,” according to the official guidelines.
2) Back to grim realities: The Postal Service’s four unions are wrapping up preparations for tomorrow’s nationwide “Save America’s Postal Service” day, which will feature rallies in all 435 congressional districts from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. local times. The chief goal is to build public and political support for legislation by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., that could open the door for the Postal Service to take advantage of tens of billions of dollars in pension overpayments identified by an outside actuary and the agency’s inspector general. The bill already has 215 co-sponsors, including some Republicans, but has so far gone nowhere in the House, where other GOP lawmakers dispute whether any such overpayments occurred.
3) On Friday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., jumped into the scrum on the other side by introducing a Senate version of a postal overhaul sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that was just approved last week by a House oversight subcommittee. McCain has a history of—at least every now and then—working successfully across party lines, but the debate preceding that subcommittee vote showed just how deep partisan divisions run on postal issues.
4) And, as federal agencies undergo another bout of shutdown jitters, let’s not forget that the Postal Service has a stake in the latest Capitol Hill showdown. Under the continuing resolution that would keep agencies operating past the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year, the deadline for the Postal Service to make a $5.5 billion retiree health care prepayment would also be pushed back from Sept. 30 to Nov. 18. If lawmakers don’t pass the CR by Friday, the Postal Service is headed for an embarrassing default, according to repeated warnings from Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.
Happy Election Day Feds! It is finally here. The day you get to pick your new boss.
We here at FedLine cast our ballots this morning and can report turnout is heavy at the polling stations inside the Beltway. This reporter stood in line for 62Â minutes to make her choice, which seemed pretty speedy given the fact that there were 210 people ahead of her when she started.
If you’ve headed to the polls today, or are on your way later, we want to hear from you.
Did you choose McCain? Obama? A third party candidate? How will your choice affect your office? What issues influenced what lever you pulled, button you pressedÂ or bubble you filled? How were conditions at your polling stations?
If you are not voting at all, tell us why not.
Finally, if you needÂ help finding your polling station, just click here.
Earlier today we mentioned Barack Obama’s slight fundraising edge among federal employees in the presidential race; he’s received about 13 percent more from feds than his rival, John McCain.
In case you’re wondering how this compares to recent elections: In 2004, George W. Bush received three times as much from federal employees as John Kerry did. Bush hauled in about $249,000 from government employees, compared with Kerry’s $80,000.
If feds vote with their wallets, they’re significantly more excited about Obama’s candidacy than they were about Kerry’s.
This has been an astoundingly expensive presidential campaign â€” more than $1 billion spent since the primaries.
How much did federal employees contribute? We decided to take a look at the donor database for both candidates.
Barack Obama seems to have the fundraising edge among feds: his donations outpaced John McCain’s by about 13 percent.
Defense Department employees contributed nearly half of the total amount donated by feds â€” not surprising, since Defense is by far the largest federal agency. The Agriculture Department seems to have contributed the least: just $250 for Obama, and nothing for McCain.
The agency-by-agency numbers are after the jump.
While national polls consistently show Democratic Sen. Barack Obama leading Republican Sen. John McCain in the presidential race — anywhere from 2 percent to 15 percent — federal employees who will be working under the next commander-in-chief are decidedly less certain.
According to an unscientific poll currently running on the Federal TimesÂ website, Obama and McCain are tied at 45 percent of the vote.Â Â More than 2,000 readers have responded as ofÂ Wednesday morning.
Among the remaining respondents,Â 5 percent are undecided andÂ another 2 percent say they plan to vote for another candidate. Perhaps most interestingly, 3 percent say they don’t plan to vote at all. This makes me wonder, are some feds really so apathetic that they don’t think it matters who’s in the Oval Office? If I was allowed to vote for my next boss, I’m sure I’d have an opinion.