Friday, January 23, 2015

New Postal Amendment to Pipeline Bill

Whether or not to approve construction of the Keystone tar sands pipeline is one of the first pieces of legislation that the Senate has taken up since the 114th Congress came into session this month.  For this bill, newly minted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised an open-amendment process.  Said McConnell, “nobody is blocking any amendments,” and Senate Democrats are taking him up on his offer. A wide range of amendments on a variety of topics have been offered, including amendments to subsidize heating bills for low-income families and require companies using the pipeline to pay into an oil spill cleanup fund.  This week, the Senate voted 98-1 in favor of an amendment to affirm that climate change is indeed real and "not a hoax."

Senate postal champion Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is now leading a new charge to undo the Postmaster General’s disastrous decision to slow down the mail and close 82 mail processing facilities.  Sanders introduced an amendment to the Keystone bill that would restore service standards to July 2012 levels and would block the closure of any processing facilities for two years.  The amendment already has secured the support of a dozen co-sponsors: Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT.), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

While APWU opposes passage of the underlying bill, and President Obama has vowed to veto the bill, we are calling upon APWU activists to reach out to their senators and ask them to support this important amendment.  This bill’s open-amendment process could be a unique opportunity to force senators to say where they stand on the future of America’s public postal service.

Please call your senators and ask them to support the Sanders postal amendment.  To find the phone numbers for your two senators’ DC offices, please click here.

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