Senate Postal Reform Legislation Includes Fed Workers' Comp (FECA) Changes
The leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, Tom Carper (D-DE) and Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK), have introduced a bipartisan postal reform bill, the Postal Reform Act of 2013 (S. 1486).
The Senate bill would allow for elimination of Saturday mail delivery one year after enactment, creases a Postal Service specific calculation for retirement systems payments and surpluses, and calls for a 40-year restructuring of the requirement to prefund retiree health benefits.
The legislation also includes provisions to reform the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) – a reform that, if passed, will affect all federal employees.
The legislation proposes to trim FECA benefits to fifty (50) percent of an employee’s salary, once the employee is eligible for retirement. Dependents would no longer result in additional compensation being provided.
The current FECA benefit is 66 2/3 percent of basic salary, tax free. If the individual has dependents, that figure rises to 75 percent.
The Senate legislation, which passed the upper chamber in the previous session without the support of the committee’s ranking member, looks likely for approval once again, especially with the support of Coburn.
"The bill that Dr. Coburn and I introduced last night presents a comprehensive and bipartisan solution to the Postal Service's financial challenges that would prevent collapse, protect millions of mailing industry jobs, and enable this critical institution to serve the American public for years to come," Carper said in a statement. "This bill isn't perfect and will certainly change as Dr. Coburn and I hear from colleagues and stakeholders, including postal employees and customers. But the time to act is now. It is my hope that Congress and the Obama Administration can come together to enhance this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it's too late."
The Senate bill represents a middle ground when compared to two competing proposals introduced in the House by Oversight and Government Reform committee leaders Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Therefore it is unclear if the two chambers will be able to reconcile their proposals for the Postal Service.
FEDmanager will continue tracking developments as they relate to FECA and postal reform.
Posted in General News