Via David Rogers at Politico (emphasis mine):
The House voted Thursday to freeze Medicare Part B premiums for most elderly next year, even as Democrats moved to exempt the Postal Service from having to make $4 billion in payments due next week to cover retirement health benefits for its employees.Will their even be a Postal Service by 2017? I have my doubts here.
At a meeting of House and Senate Appropriations Committee negotiators Thursday morning, the Postal Service language was incorporated into a stop-gap continuing resolution, or CR, that Congress must enact in the next week to keep the full government operations. As adopted, the postal agency, which now faces a liability of $5.4 billion due Sept. 30, would have to pay only $1.4 billion and would be allowed to effectively defer the remaining $4 billion until after 2017.
“That’s good news” said a Postal Service spokesman, who argued the arrangement posed no risk for the taxpayer since the retirement fund holds $32 billion at this time. Nonetheless, critics argued the $4 billion will now be added as a potential cost on the government’s books given the fragile state of the Postal Service, and the whole handling of the issue is seen by many as a parliamentary sleight-of-hand.You can read the entire article here.
Republicans made no effort to target the postal provision but complained it had been added without warning to the otherwise non-controversial 30 day resolution. Moreover, to doubly protect their work product, the Democratic leadership for the Appropriations Committees has wrapped it into an otherwise non-controversial $4.65 billion budget bill covering the operations of the Capitol and such agencies as the Library of Congress.
Ranking Republican, Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, countered that the whole strategy was “one of the most cynical legislative maneuvers I’ve ever seen.” And Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) said Democrats made matters worse by wrapping the spending provision into the legislative appropriations bill –taking care of Congress’s “backyard” and doing little for the rest of the nation.
My question is, where are they going to get $4 billion? We're effectively broke.
I think it's time to cut the USPS loose and let it sink or swim on its own. Seriously, given the advent of faxing, email and texting, do we even need a Postal Service anymore, especially one that is going to pick our pockets every time it gets in over its financial head?
Maybe people attending the next Tea Party in D.C. will show up with the pitchforks and torches, as that appears to be our only option to finally put a stop to this endless fiscal insanity.
If this lunacy continues unchecked, and it appears it will, by November of 2010 we are going to be in dire straits as a nation.
Even more dire than we are already.