Postal Reform Vote Recap

Yesterday, the Senate approved the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011 (S. 1789). We key voted against this bill because it amounts to about a $40 billion taxpayer bailout, and the suggestions of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to end Saturday delivery and trim the workforce were ignored. The vote results on the motion to proceed are below, along with a list of Republicans who voted incorrectly and Democrats who voted correctly (albeit some of them for the wrong reasons):

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Driving the Week: 3 Important Key Votes

This week, the Senate is expected to (finally) take up 3 bills which Heritage Action has key voted: the Postal Bailout Reform bill, the so-called Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the Snap Elections Resolution of Disapproval. The postal bailout and VAWA need to be taken down, but the Senate should support the Resolution of Disapproval, and here’s why:

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Postal Vote Coming

Today, around 11:00 AM EDT, the Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on postal reform. Last night, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) filed a 163-page substitute amendment that replaced the underlying “bailout” bill. Prior to this amendment, the bill included a $41 billion bailout and ignored the suggestions of the United State Postal Service on how to cut costs.

According to press reports (sub. req’d), self-identified socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called the amendment “a step forward.”  The official score on the new bill is still out (yet they’re going to move ahead on it anyway), and based on previous bills offer, we see no reason to believe that this one will be any better or contain no bailouts. Heritage Action will continue to review the new legislative language.

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Postal Service Waste

The United States Postal Service (USPS) spent over $717 million in 2010 and 2011 on unauthorized overtime pay. That’s right taxpayers, you gave an industry that is nearing bankruptcy $717 million more than you should have. According to National Journal:

“The USPS inspector general’s audit found that field operations employees worked about 1.2 billion hours in fiscal 2010 and 1.1 billion hours in fiscal 2011. Many of those hours were unauthorized by managers and supervisors. In numerous cases, managers failed to check overtime reports.

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Driving the Week: Obamacare, Budget, and Senate Politics

The big story this week will of course be the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of President Obama’s government takeover of the healthcare industry. The court will hear an unprecedented six hours of oral arguments spread across three days (Monday through Wednesday) and will render a decision sometime this summer. The Supreme Court will hear three cases against Obamacare and will consider the following four legal questions:

  • Whether the Anti-Injunction Act prohibits parties from challenging the minimum coverage provision, or individual mandate, at this time;
  • Whether Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the minimum coverage provision—that is, whether the individual mandate is unconstitutional;
  • Whether, if the mandate to purchase minimum coverage is unconstitutional, the mandate can be severed from the rest of the [new law] such that portions of the statute remain in effect; and,
  • Whether Congress’s threat to withhold all federal funding under Medicaid, the single largest grant-in-aid program, in order to impose onerous conditions on the States that it could not impose directly constituted “coercion” and thereby exceeded Congress’s enumerated powers and violated basic principles of federalism.
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