Prospects for legislation that the United States Postal Service has called vital for its survival suffered a potentially serious setback May 7.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., canceled a planned markup of legislation he had promised would mirror President Obama’s plan for the financially troubled Postal Service.
Issa blamed Democrats for the delay, saying no Democrat on his committee had endorsed his bill.
The chairman did not announce when the committee might vote.
The Issa postal proposal was a rare endorsement of a president whom the Southern California lawmaker has often denounced.
Major postal unions and the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service attacked the chairman’s proposal.
The group of major mailers dislikes the idea of making the 49¢ first-class letter rate permanent, a provision that Issa’s bill includes.
The House Oversight Committee may hold the key to whether Congress will enact any postal legislation this year.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a member of the Oversight panel, blamed the Postal Service for some of the inaction.
He told the Federal Times, a newspaper for federal workers, that the Postal Service is insisting on sweeping major reforms and not accepting a bill that would reform only a controversial provision that makes the agency prepay the health care costs of its retirees.
“It is incredibly disappointing that as the proverbial ship is sinking, the postmaster general appears obsessed with stubbornly insisting that the deck chairs be arranged precisely as he wishes, rather than urgently acting to secure relief in plugging the hole that is responsible for the sinking the entire ship,” Connolly told the publication.
Ben Cooper, a lobbyist with the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, said that until the Postal Service addresses the concerns of many Democrats and rural Republicans over the proposed cuts in mail delivery standards, no postal bill is likely to clear the House.
“This is not so much a mailing industry issue as a congressional issue,” Cooper said.
Frederic Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, expressed delight that the House committee took no action “on this counterproductive bill.”
“With the Postal Service now operationally profitable, any bill that diminishes service to the public and to businesses will stop the postal turnaround in its tracks by driving mail and revenue out of the system,” Rolando said.
“Instead, lawmakers should fix the absurd mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, which accounts for 100 percent of USPS ‘losses’ and which is required of no other public or private entity.”
The Postal Service said in a statement, “We continue to urge Congress to move comprehensive postal reform legislation forward that gives the Postal Service the flexibility needed to meet our customers’ changing mailing and shipping needs and helps return the Postal Service to profitability.”
August 01, 2015 07:37 PMIt didn’t take long for the doom-and-gloomers to weigh in with their prognostications following the July 24 announcement from the American Philatelic Society that it hired former political aide Scott English to be the next executive director of the nation’s largest stamp club. Read More ›
July 30, 2015 08:04 PMIn the Editor’s Insights columns in the July 20 Linn’s Stamp News monthly and the Aug. 10 weekly Linn’s, I mentioned Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board without giving too much detail. Linn’s goal is to engage its audience both in print and online and to grow this audience. The role of the newly formed Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board is to assist us achieving these goals by keeping us focused on the needs of our audience and helping us adapt to today’s market. Read More ›
July 30, 2015 09:01 AMAs in previous years, Rarities Week, the series of sales conducted June 22-26 by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, included several name sales as well as an assortment of notable items from around the world. The week kicked off with something of a do-over: a sizable assortment of better United States stamps and covers that had appeared in four previous sales, but whose winning bidder then failed to pay for them. Read More ›
July 23, 2015 04:35 PMThe Tieton, Wash., post office is a simple 1935 cement block building with a slat wood facade. Townsfolk in the agricultural community of 1,200 in central Washington believe the post office could become a landmark, if only the United States Postal Service would allow them to cover the front with a stamp-like mosaic. Read More ›
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz discusses the largest souvenir card produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The card is one of three issued to honor the centenary of San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke discusses Canada’s recently recalled $1.20 Dinosaur Provincial Park stamps featuring inaccurately described Hoodoo rock formations.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the discovery of another pane of the intentionally created upright variety of the $2 Jenny Invert stamp.
Chad Snee discusses the recent sale of the glass locket containing the famed 1918 Jenny Invert airmail error stamp.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.