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A Petition That Just Might Save the Post Office

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Source: The Nation


Peter DeFazio. (Flickr/Oregon DOT)

Congressman Peter DeFazio has always been a stalwart defender of the United States Postal Service. As a veteran lawmaker and one of its most determined advocates for public services in the House, he knows that the postal service is an essential asset. But he also knows that the USPS "is in a financial death spiral, caused largely by Congressional and bureaucratic ineptitude and inaction."

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"Over 70 percent of USPS financial losses are due to a Congressional mandate to prefund retiree healthcare for future employees for the next 75 years. This requires the post office to prefund the healthcare of future employees that have not yet been born. This is stupid and unacceptable," explains DeFazio. "Rather than avoiding this financial crisis they face, USPS bureaucrats have only offered short-sighted proposals that fail to address their long-term issues and would accelerate the demise of the Postal Service."

The congressman has battled the bureaucrats with some success. Along with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, DeFazio was in the forefront of the successful fight to block the Postmaster General's wrongheaded proposal to end Saturday mail delivery. He even found some rural Republican allies for that skirmish.

But the Oregon Democrat knows it's going to take more than defensive moves by Congress to save the USPS.

To that end, DeFazio has introduced the Postal Service Protection Act, a detailed proposal to "sustain the postal service, avoid unnecessary closures that hurt rural communities, and save American jobs."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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