FEDweek

Postal Reform, Whistleblower, Other Bills Advance

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has passed a bipartisan postal reform bill (HR-756), which would: give the USPS more leeway to raise rates and offer new services; stretch out over 40 years the requirement to pre-fund retiree health insurance that has been a main factor in its budget losses of recent years; and split off postal employees and retirees into a separate health insurance program within the FEHB starting in 2019, with postal retirees generally required to enroll in Medicare Part B when eligible. Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has passed: S-582, to enhance the investigative powers of the OSC; S-576, to extend protections against retaliation to employees who refuse an order that would require them to violate a regulation, not just to violate a law; and HR-274, to allow agencies to pay for ride-sharing services for employees on official travel. Also, the House passed HR-1367, aimed at improving hiring at the VA by establishing a database for recruitment and job placement, collecting more information on hiring effectiveness, and creating an exchange program with private industry for career development of managers.