Tag Archives: Adam Schiff

Schiff Honors Alexandra Helfrich – 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year

Alexandra Helfrich and Congressman Adam Schiff

Alexandra Helfrich and Congressman Adam Schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honored inspiring women from communities in the 28th Congressional District. This recognition is made each year during Women’s History Month.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to meet with the 2014 ‘Women of the Year’ awardees, and to recognize their outstanding work and community leadership,” said Rep. Schiff. “Each woman honored has demonstrated an ability to help others, to work tirelessly for a cause important to us all, and to make our communities a better place. They serve as a shining example of service throughout the 28th Congressional District, and it was wonderful to recognize their extraordinary work and capabilities.”

Alexandra Helfrich

Alexandra Helfrich

Schiff entered a special tribute to each woman into the Congressional Record:

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year, we pay special tribute to the contributions and sacrifices made by our nation’s women. It is an honor to pay homage to outstanding women who are making a difference in my Congressional District. I would like to recognize a remarkable woman, Alexandra Helfrich of Burbank.

When her eldest daughter began elementary school, Ms. Helfrich learned that the school did not have any arts programs. She began to fundraise and sought out grant opportunities to bring arts education back into the classroom. Ms. Helfritch worked with other parents, the PTA and Booster organizations to provide opportunities so every Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) student could experience music, visual art, theater, dance, and media arts. Through these collaborations, art programs became available at schools during the school day and after school as well.

Ms. Helfrich has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Burbank Arts For All Foundation since 2007 and served as its co-chair from 2010 to 2013. The Burbank Arts For All Foundation works to ensure every student in Burbank public schools receives a quality arts education as a part of their core curriculum. To support the foundation’s mission, Ms. Helfrich continues to serve on its Executive Committee. Ms. Helfrich’s volunteer efforts have provided opportunities as well as increased access for children to become creative learners.

Ms. Helfrich has also served the Burbank Unified School District as a parent representative to the District Safety Committee, where she helped update the Special Education Parent Handbook. She is currently serving on the District Local Control Accountability Plan Committee. In addition, Ms. Helfrich, who is a committed school fundraiser, has consistently served on Booster Club Boards since 2007.

Ms. Helfrich is married to Mark Helfrich, a feature film editor and director, and they have two teenage daughters.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring an exceptional woman of California’s 28th Congressional District, Alexandra Helfrich.

Alexandra Helfrich with Dot Marie Jones of Glee fame and Fritz Coleman at last years Burbank Arts For All 'Party on the Plaza' (Ross A. Benson)

Alexandra Helfrich with Dot Marie Jones of Glee fame and Fritz Coleman at last years Burbank Arts For All ‘Party on the Plaza’ (Ross A. Benson)

Schiff Challenges Students to Try and Build a Better App

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced the launch the first annual congressional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) academic competition, the House Student App Challenge, for the 28th Congressional District.  The theme for the first year of the competition is Computer Science, challenging students to develop an application (“app”).

Established by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, this competition is part of a nationwide event that invites high school students from all congressional districts to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. It is designed to promote innovation and engagement in the STEM education fields. Throughout the competition period, participating students will be provided opportunities to engage with various STEM educational partners, tech entrepreneurs, and tech experts located in the District to mentor and assist them with their app development.

“This challenge is an extraordinary opportunity for students to put their technical skills to the test and try something different,” said Schiff. “In the next decade, the U.S. economy is expected to add over 8 million new STEM jobs, but face a shortage of graduates trained in those fields. This contest will help address that challenge by encouraging students to create their own app and pursue an education and career in STEM fields.  Hopefully, we find some wonderful entrepreneurs and inventors in our community!”

The House Student STEM Challenge is open to all high school students who live in or attend high school in the 28th Congressional District. Students entering the competition must provide a YouTube or VIMEO video demo explaining their app and what they learned through the competition process during the competition submission period between February 1, 2014 and April 30, 2014.

More details on submitting a contest entry, the rules of the competition, and helpful programming resources can be found here on Rep. Schiff’s website or at http://studentappchallenge.house.gov/.

Rep. Schiff Statement on President’s State of the Union Address

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) released the following statement after the President concluded his State of the Union Address before Congress:

“Tonight, the President challenged Congress to join him in an effort to reinvigorate the American Dream by expanding opportunity and prosperity for all our citizens. While he took action today raising the minimum wage to over $10 for federal contractors, it’s up to Congress to raise it for the millions of other workers, and ensure that everyone has the ability to raise a family and join the middle class.

“I was pleased that the President challenged Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will bring millions out of the shadows, allow DREAMers to earn citizenship, and provide a legal path forward for undocumented immigrants in the country.

“Finally, the President deserves a lot of credit – he’s ended the war in Iraq, bringing to an end to the war in Afghanistan, and is trying to avoid a war in Iran by seeking a diplomatic solution. I hope that Congress will give the Administration the time it needs to determine whether it can achieve a final deal with Iran to end their nuclear weapons programs.”

Rep. Adam Schiff – “Long Nightmare is Coming to an End…”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), a member of the Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after he voted for legislation to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling:

“Now that this divisive and economically destructive ordeal is coming to an end, we need to change how Congress operates so we put an end to these recurrent man-made crises. We cannot allow a small group of members to hold the government and the nation’s credit hostage to an unrelated agenda.”

“It is my hope that the budget discussions which will take place under this agreement, will re-establish an orderly process for funding the government and put an end to the indiscriminate and hurtful cuts known as the sequester.  We should also establish a new rule that any unfunded expenditure or unpaid for tax cut be accompanied with the authorization to pay the bills thus incurred. There should never be a question about the United States’ willingness to honor its debts and obligations.

“It’s time to get back to the business of governing, and turn our attention to where it should have been all along — putting Americans back to work, reviving our economy and moving the nation forward.”

Congressman Schiff Tells Effects of Shutdown on California’s Citizens

If the government fails to pass a continuing resolution by midnight tonight (September 30th), the federal government must shut down.  In a shutdown, elements of the federal government that need to be funded by Congress each year in order to operate must close. Some government functions continue during a shutdown, such as active duty military, programs written into permanent law, postal service and air traffic control.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank):  “Congressional Republicans have once again created a crisis that has put America’s fiscal health in serious jeopardy – this time over their fervor to defund or delay Obamacare. A shutdown would be a self-inflicted wound on an economy still struggling to recover. If Congress can’t take measures to affirmatively create jobs and support the recovery, it should at least get out of the way. We must cease these political games over the nation’s budget and the endless rounds of legislative brinksmanship.  It’s time to end this destructive exercise that puts our nation’s economy, credit rating, and hard-working families in needless jeopardy.”

A shutdown – even a partial one – would have wide-ranging effects on California’s economy and a number of essential government functions that Southern Californians rely on. The following memo outlines just some of these negative impacts.

Economic Impacts of a Shutdown

Shutdown Would Slow Economic Growth –According to respected Moody’s Analytics, a partial shutdown would cut the economy’s annual growth rate in the fourth quarter by 0.2 percentage points, to 2.5%, even if it ended in three or four days.  As a result of half of civilian government workers not being able to go to work, their lost pay would represent about half of the short-term economic impact. [USA Today 9/27]

  • The 1995-1996 government shutdowns, a five-day hiatus in November 1995, followed by a 28-day gap in December and January 1996, did interrupt the strong expansion that was then developing.  The economy grew at an annual pace of 3.5% in the third quarter of 1995, but dropped to 2.9% in late 1995 and 2.6% in the first quarter of 1996. Once the shutdown ended, growth rebounded to 7.2% in the second quarter of 1996, and the economy grew at a 4% clip in the second half of the year. [USA Today 9/27]

Shutdown Will Cost Taxpayers Money –According to the Office of Management and Budget, the two shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 cost taxpayers $1.4 billion combined. Adjust for inflation and the cost estimate comes to $2 billion in today’s dollars.[NBC News 9/27]  Some estimates have a shutdown costing $150 million a day. [Fiscal Times 9/24]

 

California Tourism: Parks, Museums & Monuments

Shutdown would lead to furloughs and loss of economic activity. California has a large number of public spaces that are managed by the National Park Service and their employees – there are 26 in California statewide, including Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve, and a number of other federal lands and recreation areas, including the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Angeles National Forest.  In 2012, there were over 35 million visitors to California national parks generating $1,192,000,000 in economic benefits.  With visits by tourists disrupted, the economic impact of a shutdown could cost California millions of dollars in tourism.

  • Parks and Public Spaces will likely close under a shutdown.  Guidance similar to the 2011 Contingency Plan from the Department of Interior would close all parks and federal sites to the public.  As well, a majority of staff would be furloughed.  2011 guidance recommended furloughing 16,800 employees, and retaining 3,200, nationally.  [CRS, 9/24/2013]

 

Emergency Responders, Disaster Recovery and Safety

FEMA Employees could be furloughed.  Employees funded by annual appropriations must be furloughed during a funding lapse in such appropriations, with an exception for those employees needed to carry out functions that are necessary for the protection of life and property. Some FEMA employees are funded by annual appropriations. [FEMA, 9/23/13]

Shutdown Would Prevent Vehicle Safety Tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts testing on vehicles to ensure they are safe on the road. Many of these tests find defected parts which lead to recalls. If the government shuts down, this testing will stop, potentially putting California drivers and passengers at greater risk. [CRS, 9/24/2013]

 

Benefits and Federal Agencies

New Social Security Beneficiaries Might Not Receive Payments - A government shutdown could prevent new Social Security beneficiaries from receiving social security payments. As Social Security offices furlough employees or reduce hours, new claims might not be processed. In 2011, the most recent year of data available, there were 347,798 new Social Security beneficiaries in California. [CRS, 9/24/13]

Housing Vouchers – The Department of Housing and Urban Development will not be able to provide local housing authorities with additional money for housing vouchers. The nation’s 3,300 public housing authorities will not receive payments, although most of these agencies, however, have funds to provide rental assistance through October. [Washington Post, 9/30] In Glendale, for example, processing of housing voucher payments to Glendale Housing Authority’s approximate1,500 housing vouchers may be delayed, a number already significantly reduced due to sequestration.

Issuance of Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages in California could cease during a shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is self-financed, but authority to insure new home loans is authorized annually in appropriations acts. Therefore, in a shutdown, the FHA could be unable to insure new home loans. [CRS, 9/24/2013]

Shutdown could interrupt medical research – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would not be able to take on any new patients, or begin any new clinical trials, thereby impeding progress on life-saving, cutting-edge medical research. [ABC, 9/21/13] Local institutions, such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, receive a particularly large amount NIH funding for programs and research.  Children’s Hospital’s Graduate Medical Program would also theoretically be effected if the shutdown lasted a long time, and payments could be delayed

Shutdown could delay approval of applications for Small Business Loans  – The Small Business Administration provides government-guaranteed loans to small businesses. These services could be suspended in a shutdown and depending on how long the last shutdown lasted, applications could get backlogged, meaning the impact could be felt even after the government reopens. [ABC, 9/21/13]

  • In 2011, the Los Angeles SBA District Office helped to provide loans and financial assistance to 2,477 businesses, amounting to $1.58 billion.  While exact numbers are not known, new business applications would be backlogged and would hurt current loans administered throughout Los Angeles.

 

California Workers and Economic Development

California Workers Impacted by Outsourcing Would Not Receive Assistance – A government shutdown would prevent the Department of Labor from issuing any new Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) determinations.  TAA is given to employees who have lost their job as a result of their job being moved to another country. [Department of Labor memo, 4/7/2011]

California economic development, housing, and city restoration projects would cease in a shutdown – All programs under the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) are expected to be impacted by a government shutdown. Program examples include:

  • Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI)
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) Program
  • Economic Development Initiative (“Competitive EDI”) Grants
  • Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program
  • Surplus Property for Use to Assist the Homeless (Title V)
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims (Section 203(h))
  • Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) & Persons with Disabilities (Section 811)
  • Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Study

 

Veterans, Military Service Members and Military Base Employees

Military personnel must work without pay. This could have a devastating impact on military families, depending on the length of the shutdown.  According to Rep. C.W. Young, R-Fla., Chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, “All military personnel will continue to serve and accrue pay, but will not actually be paid until appropriations are available.” [Military Times, 9/23/13]

Veterans could be denied education and vocational rehabilitation benefits. Under a shutdown plan drafted in 2011, the Veterans Administration will not be able to process new beneficiaries and administration of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation benefits. Also, Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices will have limited availability and no decisions on claims appeals or motions will be issued by the Board of Veterans appeals. [Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Contingency Plan, 4/8/11]

Multiple other Veterans’ services could be curtailed.  According to the Washington Post, the last time the government shut down in 1995, “multiple services were curtailed, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel.”[Washington Post, 9/24/13] Furthermore, during the last threat of a shutdown, it was expected that Veterans Benefits Administration customer support services could be suspended. [OMB Public Memo, 2011]

California Guardsmen/women would not be paid. A number of California National Guard employees would be furloughed until the government is funded. Additionally, depending on how long the shutdown lasts, the Guard could have to cancel training and other duties, which could affect another thousands of Soldiers and Airmen. Any shutdown would also negatively impact the families of Soldiers, Airmen, and civilian employees. There would be additional issues concerning contracting and purchasing, dependent on the length of a shutdown.  [OMB Public Memo, 2011]

New Grant for Burbank Will Allow Police Department to Hire Three New Officers

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced that the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) had awarded the City of Burbank Police Department $375,000 to create three new officer positions. This is part of a statewide effort totaling nearly $20 million to 39 departments throughout the state of California, aimed at creating 105 law enforcement positions. The COPS Hiring Program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides salaries and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years. Grantees for the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and community policing plans.

“Since it was first created back in 1994, the COPS hiring programs have helped to put more than 125,000 police officers on the streets and in the neighborhoods – it’s no coincidence that we’ve seen a nationwide decrease in violent crime over the past decade,” said Rep. Schiff. “This grant for the Burbank Police Department will help hire three new police officers, which in a time of belt-tightening and budget cutting will be a great help to the city. I will continue to support this program and look to protect it from the dangers posed by budget infighting in Washington, DC.”

“The Burbank Police Department is very appreciative of Rep. Adam Schiff’s considerable efforts to obtain funding for three police officer positions,” said Burbank Police Department Chief Scott LaChasse. “The grant monies will be specifically dedicated to reestablishing school resource officer positions. The Burbank Police Department has benefitted significantly from Rep. Schiff’s objective to sponsor legislation that contributes to community safety by preventing, deterring and detecting crime.”

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.

“The grants we announce today are part of the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to help dedicated local law enforcement professionals build safer, stronger communities,” said Tony West, Associate Attorney General of the United States. “These awards will help our partners in jurisdictions across the state of California hire more officers and better work with the communities they serve to address public safety issues.”

Schiff has strongly supported COPS Program in the past. In 2011, he offered an amendment to restore $600 million in funding, and in 2009 he authored an amendment which would increase the number of forensic analysts and laboratory personnel working to catch rapists, murderers and other violent felons through the COPS program.

Glenoaks Post Office Closure Approved

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has issued the final determination to close Glenoaks Station, 1634 San Fernando Road in Burbank, CA, and consolidate P.O. Box service into the Downtown “Bob Hope” Station, 135 E. Olive Ave, which is about one mile away. P.O. Box numbers and ZIP Code will remain the same.

Congressman Adam Schiff has fought to keep the facility open and said, ““Today’s announcement by the Postal Service is another example of a deeply misguided strategy of closing locations and degrading quality in the hope of balancing its books – over the long term, it is a slow death by a thousand cuts. Instead, the Postal Service should work with Congress to pursue a larger, more comprehensive approach to its financial health.  The root of the USPS’ financial problems stem from a multi-billion dollar prefunding obligation imposed on this agency alone and the overpayment of billions to the federal government. The closure of the Glenoaks postal facility will only hamper residents’ ability to access the mail and hurt local businesses.”

Schiff previously wrote a letter to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to keep the Glenoaks Post Office in Burbank open. Schiff is a sponsor of the Postal Service Protection Act (H.R. 630), which would allow the USPS to use the funds it has previously overpaid in retirement benefit liabilities to meet the prefunding requirement.

In the letter to Donahoe earlier this year, Schiff wrote: “Closing the Glenoaks Post Office would leave Burbank with only two full service Post Offices. While smaller post offices would still continue to operate in the City, those post offices would not offer City residents and businesses the same level of service as the Glenoaks Post Office and as a result residents and business owners would suffer a significant degradation in service. Small business owners and families who rely on the Post Office on a daily basis to help their firms grow, or to receive prescription medication, will likely have to travel far to conduct their business with USPS.”

Glenoaks Station Post Office located on San Fernando Blvd. near Grismer

Glenoaks Station Post Office located on San Fernando Blvd. near Grismer

Glenoaks Station was studied in 2011 for consolidation to reduce costs while maintaining access to postal services in the community. Revenue has been steadily declining at Glenoaks Station and there are a number of alternate sites within a short radius of the facility that provide postal services.

On March 21, 2011, questionnaires on the proposed consolidation were distributed to customers of the Glenoaks Station. On May 30, 2011, USPS representatives held a public meeting at the Glenoaks Station to provide information and answer questions, and a written comment period on the proposal was open from June 9, 2011, to August 10, 2011.

USPS owns the building at 1634 San Fernando Road and plans to sell it when the consolidation is complete.

This final determination to consolidate the Glenoaks Station may be appealed by any person served by that office to the Postal Regulatory Commission. Appeals must be received within 30 days. Submit appeals to:

Postal Regulatory Commission
901 New York Ave. NW Ste. 200
Washington DC 20268-0001

Congressman Schiff Comments About IRS Selective Enforcement Actions

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior member of the Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement in response to allegations that the IRS has engaged in the targeted scrutiny of certain tax-exempt 501(c)4 social welfare groups:

“The Internal Revenue Service must enforce the tax code in a neutral and nonpartisan way. Any politicization of tax enforcement is abhorrent and should be viewed as a grave offense. These allegations must be investigated to the fullest extent and dealt with appropriately.

“I first raised the issue of selective enforcement by the IRS during the Bush Administration, when the agency audited All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena based on the content of a particular church service. After a former pastor gave an anti-Iraq War sermon, All Saints became the target of an aggressive IRS investigation in which the church’s tax-exempt status was threatened. At the time, I could find only one Republican colleague, Rep. Walter Jones, that would join me in calling for an investigation. The IRS targeting of certain organizations on the basis of their ideology is anathema, deeply chilling to free speech and cannot be tolerated.

“The need to investigate these allegations thoroughly and to hold accountable those responsible, however, must not obscure the fact that many of the so-called “social welfare” organizations which have multiplied since Citizens United are a sham that should lose their tax exempt status. Some of these organizations are undeniably and overwhelmingly political, and merely seek to use the tax code to shelter their operations from scrutiny and to avoid disclosure of their donors. The IRS must enforce the law fairly and with no regard for ideology, but they must enforce the law.

“Congress should do what I called for back in 2005 – undertake a thorough review of how the IRS interprets and enforces the law when it comes to tax-exempt organizations, and examine whether existing laws and regulations need to be updated to draw a brighter line. Congress should also act to require disclosure of contributions to remove the incentive for partisan organizations to abuse the tax code for the sole purpose of avoiding transparency in the political process.”

Schiff Announces Annual Art Contest with Online Voting for “People’s Choice” Winner

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced that he will host the annual Congressional Art Competition Forum & Exhibit for the 28th District, featuring high school students’ artwork from the region, on Sunday, May 19. The Congressional Art Competition is an annual contest, with submissions from across the country. The winner from each Congressional District has their work displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. In addition, he has opened up the competition with a “People’s Choice” award, which will be decided through an online vote.

To vote for the “People’s Choice,” constituents should go to Schiff’s website. Voting will be open from Monday, May 6th through Wednesday, May 15th.

“Every year, I am amazed at the talent and creativity displayed in the art I receive from high school students across the 28th Congressional District. Last year, the ‘People’s Choice’ competition was such a success, that we decided to continue the tradition this year. Students, their families and constituents from across our community will be able to weigh in, just like the panel of judges, and pick the ‘People’s Choice’ winner online,” said Schiff. “I look forward to seeing all the entries and welcoming artists and their families at the exhibition. Go to my website and vote – I’m excited to see who my constituents pick as the winner.”

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have participated in the nationwide competition.

The first place winner’s artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol for one year, the piece awarded second place will hang in the Congressman’s Washington, D.C. office for one year, and the piece awarded third place will hang in his Burbank District Office for one year. The “People’s Choice” winner’s artwork will also be displayed in Schiff’s Washington, D.C. office.

The winners of the contest will be announced at the 28th Congressional High School Art Competition Forum & Exhibit on Sunday, May 19, 2013. All student participants will receive a Congressional Certificate of Recognition. The exhibit will be held at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge at Van de Kamp Hall located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011. Parking and admission to Van de Kamp Hall are free. Exhibit viewing will begin at 3:00 pm and the Forum and Awards Presentation will take place at 5:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

To RSVP, please contact Teresa Lamb Simpson in Rep. Schiff’s Burbank District Office at (818) 450 -2900 or (323) 315-5555.

Rep. Schiff Calls on Postal Service to Keep Glenoaks Post Office in Burbank Open

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to keep the Glenoaks Post Office in Burbank open. There have been indications that the USPS was planning on closing this facility within the next few months.  While the Postal Service has not made a final determination on closing the facility, it is clear that they are moving ahead with potential closures and consolidations throughout the Los Angeles area, and this would not be the first time that the USPS has denied accounts of a closure only to shutter the facility.  Recently, USPS has consolidated two facilities in Pasadena and the City of Industry, and reported it will close the Glendale Post Office on Broadway.

Glenoaks Station Post Office located on San Fernando Blvd. near Grismer

Glenoaks Station Post Office located on San Fernando Blvd. near Grismer

“I was deeply disappointed to learn that the USPS was considering closing the Glenoaks facility in Burbank,” said Rep. Schiff. “Regrettably, USPS continues to follow a misguided strategy of closing locations and degrading quality in the hope of balancing its books, rather than working with Congress to pursue a larger, more comprehensive approach to its financial health. The closure of yet another facility will only hamper local residents’ ability to access the mail and hurt local businesses, when the real root of USPS’ financial problems stem from a multi-billion dollar prefunding obligation imposed on this agency alone and the overpayment of billions to the federal government.”

Schiff is a sponsor of the Postal Service Protection Act (H.R. 630), which would allow the USPS to use the funds it has previously overpaid in retirement benefit liabilities to meet the prefunding requirement. Schiff also recently sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging him to reconsider his decision.

In the letter, Schiff writes:  “First, closing the Glenoaks Post Office would leave Burbank with only two full service Post Offices. While smaller post offices would still continue to operate in the City, those post offices would not offer City residents and businesses the same level of service as the Glenoaks Post Office and as a result residents and business owners would suffer a significant degradation in service. Small business owners and families who rely on the Post Office on a daily basis to help their firms grow, or to receive prescription medication, will likely have to travel far to conduct their business with USPS.

“Second, this step is misguided not only because it will negatively affect the services USPS provides the community, but also because closing this Post Office and others will not achieve anywhere near the level of cost savings that USPS needs to improve its fiscal health. USPS faces an annual multibillion dollar operating deficit, but selling Post Offices will do little compared to the scale of the financial challenges USPS faces.  Instead, they will merely degrade the quality of service and further debilitate an important and historic part of American life.”

The full letter is below:

 

The Honorable Patrick R. Donahoe

Postmaster General

U.S. Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW

Washington, DC 20260-0010

Mr. Donahoe,

As you know, the United States Postal Service (USPS) recently announced that it would shortly be closing the Glenoaks Post Office located at 1634 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504. I strongly urge USPS not to proceed with this closure.

First, closing the Glenoaks Post Office would leave Burbank with only two full service Post Offices. While smaller post offices would still continue to operate in the City, those post offices would not offer City residents and businesses the same level of service as the Glenoaks Post Office and as a result residents and business owners would suffer a significant degradation in service. Small business owners and families who rely on the Post Office on a daily basis to help their firms grow, or to receive prescription medication, will likely have to travel far to conduct their business with USPS.

Second, this step is misguided not only because it will negatively affect the services USPS provides the community, but also because closing this Post Office and others will not achieve anywhere near the level of cost savings that USPS needs to improve its fiscal health. USPS faces an annual multibillion dollar operating deficit, but selling Post Offices will do little compared to the scale of the financial challenges USPS faces.  Instead, they will merely degrade the quality of service and further debilitate an important and historic part of American life.

Instead of selling the Post Office on Glenoaks and other post offices across the region and the country, USPS should be pursuing a larger, more comprehensive approach to its financial health, while minimizing service reductions and the loss of local jobs. The current legal requirement that USPS prefund its retirement health benefit program by $5.5 billion per year is one of the largest sources of USPS’s financial woes. USPS should use the funds it has previously overpaid in retirement benefit liabilities to meet the prefunding requirement. The Postal Service Protection Act (H.R. 630), of which I am a cosponsor, would do just that.

Lastly, I have concerns about the process used to close the Glenoaks facility. Under Title 39, Section 404(b)(1) of the United States Code, USPS prior to making a determination as to the necessity for the closing or consolidation of any post office, is required to provide adequate notice of its intention to close or consolidate such post office at least 60 days prior to the proposed date of such closing or consolidation to persons served by such post office to ensure that such persons will have an opportunity to present their views. I’m currently unaware of any steps USPS has taken to ensure that that community members affected by the proposed closure have the opportunity to present their views. USPS should solicit input from the community on the closure through a variety of formats – postal mail, online submissions and a public forum with USPS representatives present to answer any questions about the closure.

I strongly urge the United States Postal Service not to close the Glenoaks Post Office and to effectively and comprehensively solicit input from the community on this proposed action that could degrade services in our city and beyond.

Sincerely,

Adam B. Schiff

Member of Congress