Postal Updates

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

A new postal legislation proposal that seems dead on arrival

June 13, 2014 07:00 AM

If you needed a sign that Congress is not likely to soon resolve the United States Postal Service’s financial woes, consider what the House Republican leadership did the last week of May.

House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor adopted an idea to use the estimated savings from ending Saturday mail deliveries to bail out another financially troubled problem: the highway trust fund.

The idea, which the political news website Politico said few Republicans had taken seriously, was immediately pummeled by Democrats, postal unions and even some sympathetic Republican groups.

Said Dan Holler, a spokesman for the Heritage Action for America: “The idea Congress would use a supposedly self-funding agency that cannot pay its bills as a piggy bank to fund another bankrupt, self-funding fund is absurd.”

Democrats eagerly attacked the GOP plan, saying both the highway trust fund and the Postal Service need long-term fixes for their financial troubles.

“GOP leaders need to go back to the drawing boards,” said Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said that the GOP plan’s numbers “just don’t add up.”

“The hard truth is that moving to a 5-day delivery schedule isn’t enough on its own to save the Highway Trust Fund or the U.S. Postal Service,” Carper said in a statement.

Seemingly left out of the maneuvering was House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who has been unable to develop any bipartisan postal legislation that might clear the House.

What has gathered bipartisan support in the House, Politico noted, is a measure to direct the USPS to continue six-day-a-week mail deliveries. It has 220 supporters in the House.

Divisions like this within the House seem to increase the possibility that the House and Senate will be unable to reach an agreement any time soon on what to do with the Postal Service and its inability to pay off its increasing debts to the federal treasury.