John McCain joins the Postal Service debate


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has proposed a bill to reform the USPS by cutting Saturday delivery, having workers pay more toward benefits and creating a financial oversight board. (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

The bill would allow USPS to end Saturday mail deliveries, sell advertising space at post offices and on mail trucks, would require postal workers to pay more toward retirement and health-care benefits and would establish a financial control board to overhaul postal finances.

 “Congress can no longer enact temporary fixes that avert financial crisis for only a brief period,” McCain said. “Congress, the Postal Service, labor unions and the mailing community must be willing to lay everything on the table and make hard choices now to save the Postal Service for the future.”

 Unlike Issa’s version of the bill, McCain’s version would not permit USPS to raise its federal borrowing authority by $10 billion. 

Democrats are no fan of the newly minted Issa-McCain measure, arguing that the establishment of a financial control board could mean unfairly targeting postal workers who are owed for their years of service.

McCain’s foray into the postal debate means there are now three serious reform packages in the Senate. Sens. Thomas E. Carper (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) — two longtime observers of postal affairs — are also pushing reform packages that are similar to McCain’s.

Carper’s legislation would permit USPS to end Saturday deliveries, close post offices, set its own prices and restructure its retirement and health-care costs by recalculating its obligations to federal workers compensation, retirement and health accounts.

Collins, who deeply opposes ending Saturday deliveries, focuses primarily on recalculating the labor costs.

Issa's bill awaits a full House committee vote, and none of the Senate bills have been drawn up for consideration.

The Postal Service’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30, when it’s expected to post historic losses.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Further reading:

Potential job cuts are focus of heated Postal Service debate

Postal Service could lose $10 billion this year

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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