Floor Statement of Congressman Stephen F. Lynch on the Postal Accountability and Enhacement Act (H.R. 22)

Jul 21, 2005
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Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 22, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.  This bipartisan legislation seeks to provide a major reform of the U.S. Postal Service for the first time in over 35 years, to address the new reality after the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, and to ensure the financial soundness of this vital institution for years to come.  


I appreciate all the work done by the Chairman Tom Davis, Ranking Member Henry Waxman, Mr. McHugh, former Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Postal Service, and Mr. Davis, Ranking Member on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization Subcommittee, in crafting a Bipartisan Bill. However, I’d also like to note that this effort could not have been possible without meaningful input from our postal employees and the leadership of the postal unions, including the American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, and the Mailhandlers, throughout this long process.


They are some of the most dedicated and efficient employees in the world and we’ve all seen just how bravely they’ve continued to do their jobs in the face of the threat of biological attacks through the mail. 


Many people will remember that in the days and weeks following 9/11, we had a series of anthrax attacks, conducted through the mail system.


Tragically, these attacks claimed the lives of two of our Postal Workers, Joseph Curseen, Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr., at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Brentwood facility in the D.C. area.  At that point in time, these postal workers were faced with a difficult choice.


That choice was to continue to come to work in a very dangerous environment, perhaps endangering their families or to stay out of work and risk bringing the mail to a halt–damaging our economy, upsetting the flow of commerce and shaking the confidence of the American people. 


They chose to keep working and they did so because many of these workers saw it as their patriotic duty to do so. 


Mr. Chairman, H.R. 22 takes note of their service and regards postal employees as partners and as our greatest asset toward effective Postal Reform.  Notably, this bill does not seek to curtail essential worker rights and protections with respect to collective bargaining, compensation, or fringe benefits.  In short, H.R. 22 recognizes that our postal employees are the key to maintaining a strong Postal Service. 


Mr. Chairman, I’d like to reiterate my support for the main bill and express my hope that we do not incorporate amendments that will compromise the stability of the Postal Service or the rights of its employees during today’s floor consideration.


I yield the remainder of my time.