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Congressman Jerry McNearney (D-Calif.) becomes 76th Co-Sponsor of H.R. 22

Postmasters Push for Support of Postal Bill on Capitol Hill

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, Congressman Jerry McNearney (D-Calif.) became the 76th Co-Sponsor of H.R. 22, a bill to refinance the Postal Service's retiree health benefits obligation. The bill, originally sponsored by Congressmen John McHugh (R-N.Y.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) is presently before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

H.R. 22 would require the Postal Service to continue to prefund its retiree health care obligations, but, because of the economic downturn, allow it to do so at a slower pace. Members of the National League of Postmasters visited the halls of Congress the first week in February to solicit co-sponsorships, and will continue their efforts throughout the country with daily telephone calls to congressional district offices.

"Never before has the LEAGUE networked its members to this degree -- and with the result of more than 76 co-sponsors in just one month," said LEAGUE President Charles Mapa. "We intend to continue our efforts until H.R. 22 is passed by both the House and Senate, and is signed into law."

Currently, the Postal Service pays more than $5 billion annually to prefund its future retirees' health care obligations. The Postal Service also currently pays more than $2 billion to fund its current retirees' health care obligations. H.R. 22 would eliminate the $2 billion payment and continue the $5 billion payment, with part of that payment going to prefund its future retirees' benefits and part going to fund its current retirees' health benefits. Technically, all the payments go into the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund and the payment for the current retiree health benefits would come out of this fund. The fund currently has $32 billion in it.

"H.R. 22 passage is needed now," said LEAGUE Legislative Counsel Robert Brinkmann. "The economic downturn and the plight of the financial services industry -- the Postal Service's largest customer -- has created a financial crisis at the Postal Service. Continuing to make the full $8 billion payment is no longer realistic and this bill would allow prefunding at a slower pace."

The LEAGUE, organized in the late 1800s, is the nation's oldest Postmaster organization and provides the "voice of Postmasters" to Congress for Postmasters all across the country. The LEAGUE also represents Postmasters in its efforts to protect and enhance the pay, benefits and workplace issues of Postmasters.

SOURCE National League of Postmasters
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