Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass. Charles Dharapak/AP File Photo

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Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Return FERS Surplus to Postal Service

Surplus has been estimated at $3 billion and $11 billion.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., has proposed a bill to return surplus pension funds to the U.S. Postal Service, saying the move will help the cash-strapped agency meet its financial obligations.

The ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census put forth the plan with more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers.

“The Postal Service continues to face fiscal challenges and it is imperative that Congress reach agreement on postal reform in the 113th Congress,” Lynch said in a statement. “The United States Postal Service Stabilization Act is a commonsense alternative that will afford the Postal Service much-needed financial flexibility without compromising mail delivery standards or unfairly burdening our dedicated postal workforce.” 

A report commissioned by the USPS inspector general estimated USPS’ Federal Employees Retirement System surplus has reached $11.4 billion due to a growing gap between the salary of the average postal worker and the salaries of other federal employees.

The Office of Personnel Management, however, has said the surplus is closer to $2.6 billion due to lower long-term interest rates than the agency originally used in its calculations.

Lynch’s bill would require OPM to recalculate the FERS surplus using “postal-specific factors,” such as postal salary growth and postal employee demographic statistics. This would not only allow USPS to regain its surplus, Lynch said, but also prevent future overpayments from occurring.

Several postal unions, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, have endorsed Lynch’s proposal.

“The NALC is grateful to Congressman Lynch for taking the lead on addressing this nagging pension over-funding problem,” union President Fredric Rolando said in a statement, “and we are pleased to fully support [the bill] as a sensible and fair approach to providing the Postal Service with much-needed financial relief.”

A postal reform bill that passed the Senate in the last Congress included a similar provision to return surplus pension funds to the agency.