U.S. Senate to consider competing bills to overhaul USPS; Lieberman bill would postpone ending Saturday delivery for two years, use US$11B in overpayments to a retirement fund to provide incentives for long-time workers to retire

WASHINGTON , March 27, 2012 (press release) – The U.S. Senate is expected to consider a bill that will overhaul the U.S. Postal Service, despite some objections from certain Democratic senators and postal unions.

A vote on Joseph Lieberman’s 21st Century Postal Service Act (S 1789) had been delayed while its sponsors negotiated with senators who support a competing bill (S 1853) offered by Bernie Sanders.

The Lieberman bill would postpone ending Saturday delivery service for two years, while the Sanders bill would delay the change for four years. The Lieberman bill would also use $11 billion in overpayments to a retirement fund to provide incentives to long-time postal workers to retire, and would allow the USPS to offer additional services, such as the sale of fishing licenses and the shipping of beer and wine.

The Sanders bill goes further by preventing the enactment of proposals suggested by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, such as closing post offices and processing centers and slowing first-class mail delivery times.

U.S. Postal Service unions & associations, such as the National Association of Letter Carriers, American Postal Workers Union, and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, have been critical of the Lieberman bill, but are not opposed to it outright. Some, such as the American Postal Workers Union, have sought to change the bill through amendments that would incorporate elements of the Sanders bill.

MapLight has conducted an analysis of campaign contributions from U.S. Postal Service unions & associations to current members of the U.S. Senate from July 1, 2005-June 30, 2011.

* U.S. Postal Service unions & associations have given a total of $1,805,360 in campaign contributions to current U.S. senators between July 1, 2005-June 30, 2011.

METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of reported contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns of current U.S. senators from U.S. Postal Service unions & associations and Express delivery services interest groups from July 1, 2005-June 30, 2011. Campaign contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org).

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