Senses Jim Risch and Rick Scott to Chief Schumer: We need to delay postal bill, prioritize support for Ukraine, hold Russia accountable when Senate returns

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February 26, 2022

WASHINGTON Yesterday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging him to delay the review of HR 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, until it was reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office to determine the long-term budgetary effects of the legislation and the negative fiscal impacts on the Medicare program. Instead, when the Senate returns next week, Senators Risch and Scott are asking Chief Schumer to prioritize immediate review of the legislation, as their NYET Actto provide urgent support to Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its violent and illegal invasion.

“We would also be remiss not to address the need for the Senate to immediately respond to Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine. Freedom in Europe is under attack and we must recognize that Putin’s goal is to gain more control of wealth and power across the continent. The United States must respond with devastating sanctions and severe consequences that cripple the Russian economy, the oligarchy, and Putin’s thugs and cronies inside and outside the Kremlin,” he added. . writes the senators. “When we return to Washington next week, this must be our first order of business. Placing any other legislation, especially a bill that has not been considered by a single Senate committee and does not deal with pressing matters , before addressing the invasion of Ukraine would be a dereliction of our duty to the American people and a betrayal of our responsibility to promote and protect democracy and freedom around the world.

The full text of the letter can be found here or below:

Dear Majority Leader Schumer:

We care deeply about resolving issues with the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Postal Service provides essential services that millions of Americans rely on every day. We also believe that the Postal Service should be accountable to taxpayers, not only for how efficiently it delivers mail, but also how it spends the taxpayer dollars it receives.

The US Senate is now set to consider HR 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, next week. While we support certain provisions of this bill, such as its emphasis on improving services for rural communities, it does not provide for comprehensive reform and has not been subject to order and regular committee review that would both improve and refine a bill of this magnitude.

To date, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has held no hearings or meetings of members on this bill, and the bill has not even been reviewed at a markup. The bill increases the costs of the Medicare program, which will lead to higher premiums and an increase in the national debt.

We just want the US Senate to have a chance to work on it, improve it, and come up with a bill that really works. This bill does not solve the underlying problems of the postal service, nor does it make it profitable. This bill does not reduce the cost to the federal government, but rather reduces the cost to the Postal Service and shifts that increased cost to Medicare beneficiaries.

This bill adds new costs to Medicare without offsetting these growing Medicare expenses. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), between fiscal years 2025 and 2031, this bill would increase Medicare costs by more than $1.9 billion for Part B and $4.2 billion for Part D. This will hurt Medicare beneficiaries due to higher premiums. Instead of the USPS paying for its employees’ own health plans, this bill will require nonpostal Medicare beneficiaries to subsidize postal retirees.

More than 60 million seniors across our nation rely on Medicare. It is unreasonable to add additional expenses to them and put the future care of postal workers at stake when Medicare is already on the road to insolvency.

For these reasons, Senator Scott has asked the CBO to provide an analysis and note of this bill that extends beyond the limited 10-year budget window covered by their original review. The letter asked the CBO for a long-term score of this bill so that Congress can clearly consider the future impacts on Medicare beneficiaries. This analysis is not yet complete.

We would also be remiss not to respond to the need for the Senate to immediately respond to Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine. Freedom in Europe is under attack and we must recognize that Putin’s goal is to gain more control of wealth and power across the continent. The United States must respond with devastating sanctions and severe consequences that cripple the Russian economy, the oligarchy, and Putin’s thugs and cronies both inside and outside the Kremlin. When we return to Washington next week, this must be our first order of business. To place any other legislation, especially a bill that has not been considered by a single Senate committee and does not deal with pressing matters, before dealing with the invasion of Ukraine would be a breach of our duty to the American people and a betrayal of our responsibility to promote and protect democracy and freedom around the world.

Without a doubt, we are in favor of doing something to reform the postal service and make it more accountable to the taxpayers, but we must have the opportunity to improve this bill before passing it.

Today, we demand that the vote on Monday, February 28, 2022 to invoke closure of the Postal Service Reform Act be postponed until a more comprehensive and long-term review of this bill has been conducted by the Congressional Budget Office so that it can provide Congress and the American public with an estimate of the bill’s current and future impact on Medicare, the Postal Service, and any potential impact on solvency long-term of these programs.

Until we can fully understand what the true costs and long-term impacts of this bill would be on our medicare program, we should not vote on it. To do so would be unconscionable and a breach of our duty to act as informed representatives of taxpayers and every family we so proudly serve.

We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues on a responsible postal reform bill that delivers on our commitments to defend the interests of our country’s taxpayers and protects the financial well-being of our postal workers and seniors. American families deserve nothing less.

Truly,

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