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WASHINGTON -- A group of U.S. Postal Service employees and supporters launched a hunger strike Monday on Capitol Hill, urging action from lawmakers in order to save an agency they said was imperiled by Congress itself.
The postal workers and boosters said they were trying to draw attention to a wonky yet crucial element of postal service reform being considered: the repeal of what's called the "prefunding mandate," a 2006 requirement from Congress that the USPS prefund the retiree health benefits for its workers 75 years in advance, to the tune of about $5.5 billion per year.
"Congress created the problem, Congress can fix it," said Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier who worked in Portland, Ore., for 27 years and is taking part in the hunger strike. "We're just frustrated. We're indignant, we're outraged, we're here to shame Congress into doing the right thing. We're willing to suffer, to go on a hunger strike in order to show our indignation."
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