WASHINGTON, DC -U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) issued the following statement regarding his decision to vote against the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012 (S. 1789) today:
"I am pleased that the sponsors of the bill came to a consensus on numerous complex and contentious issues, including strong protections for access to postal retail services in rural and remote areas, and provisions that would only allow a reduction to five-day mail delivery if it was truly needed to save the Postal Service. The postal sections of the bill would provide much needed stability for the Postal Service's finances.
"Unfortunately, I cannot support a bill that cuts benefits for federal employees who have been injured in service to their country. It is simply cruel to change the rules after-the-fact for disabled employees who were relying on the promise of these benefits. I'm disappointed my amendment to fix this issue was defeated.
"There are many complex issues that deserve more analysis related to the appropriate benefit levels established in the Federal Employees Compensation Act. I believe we must be extremely cautious when cutting disabled employees' benefits, especially for elderly disabled employees who could face dire consequences.
"I also am disappointed that my amendment that would have simply clarified existing law to make it clear that the Postal Service is required to consult postal supervisors and postmasters before changing their pay or benefits did not receive the 60 votes needed for passage. I thank the bill's lead sponsors, Senators Lieberman and Collins, for supporting my amendment.
"I support many of the provisions in this bill that will meaningfully improve the financial situation of the Postal Service. I think this is an important bill, and I will work to address my concerns in conference."
Senator Akaka's proposed amendment on workers' compensation (S. Amdt. 2034) was defeated yesterday by a vote of 46-53.
Senator Akaka's proposed amendment on supervisor consultation (S. Amdt. 2049) yesterday received 57 votes in support, a majority, but under Senate rules a 60 vote threshold was required.