Senate Committee to Mark Up Postal Bill Next Week

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The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will mark up the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2004 on June 2, Sens. Susan Collins, R-ME, and Joseph Lieberman, D-CT, said yesterday.


Among other provisions, S. 2468 would reform the rate-setting process and guarantee a higher degree of transparency to ensure fair treatment of customers. It also would repeal a provision requiring that money owed to the U.S. Postal Service because of an overpayment into the Civil Service Retirement System fund be held in an escrow account. Repealing this provision essentially would "free up" $78 billion over 60 years.


The USPS has said it would use this money to pay off debt to the U.S. Treasury, fund its healthcare liabilities and mitigate rate increases. If it isn't released, the USPS said it will be forced to seek a double-digit rate increase in 2006.


The bill also would return responsibility for funding CSRS pension benefits relating to the military service of postal retirees -- a $27 billion obligation -- to the Treasury Department. No other federal agency is required to make this payment.


The Senate bill is similar to a House bill, H.R. 4341, which passed out of committee May 12. The full House is expected to take up the bill by the end of June.


The bill is sponsored by Collins, Lieberman and Sens. Tom Carper, D-DE; Ted Stevens, R-AK; George Voinovich, R-OH; Daniel Akaka, D-HI; Richard Durbin, D-IL; and John Sununu, R-NH.


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