For rural and isolated parts of the country– of which there are many in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District– a strong, stable and reliable Postal Service is a critical connection to the outside world.
So why was Ben Cline among the minority of Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote NO on the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act?
“We need to take steps to make our post office stronger,” Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the bill’s sponsor and chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told The Washington Post. “This bill helps and it will help in every way. It’s a reform bill that will save taxpayers’ dollars while at the same time making the operations of the post office more financially stable and sustainable, and making postal jobs and employee health benefits more secure.”
The Postal Service is required to prepay its retirees’ health-care costs, a mandate instituted in 2006 when mail volume was steady and the agency was profitable. But decades of falling mail use have turned it into a perpetual financial loser, and the pre-funding requirement has accounted for $152.8 billion of its $206.4 billion in liabilities.
Tuesday’s legislation, advanced by leaders of both parties, wipes clean $57 billion of that amount, and will save the agency another $50 billion over the next decade. The bill installs new timely delivery transparency requirements for the Postal Service, which has struggled with on-time service since [Postmaster General Louis] DeJoy took office, and allows the agency to contract with local, state and Indigenous governments to offer basic nonpostal services, such as hunting and fishing licenses.
According to a Washington Post editorial:
The overhaul bill would… require retirees to enroll in Medicare when eligible. The Congressional Budget Office projects this would save taxpayers $1.5 billion over 10 years.
I thought Cline was in favor of saving taxpayers money.
The vote to pass the bill was 342 to 92. All 222 Democrats and 120 Republicans voted YES. Cline was among the 92 Republicans who voted NO.