By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
Thanks to objections from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the United States Postal Service’s board of governors has dropped to one member.
Even so, Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said the USPS remains “confident in our ability to operate the Postal Service through a Temporary Emergency Committee,” which the board established in the event it lacked a formal quorum.
The committee includes the one remaining presidential appointee, former Rep. James Bilbray of Nevada, and Postmaster General Megan Brennan and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, the spokesman said.
Noting that the Senate has not approved a presidential nominee for the nine-member postal board since 2010, Partenheimer said: “The role of the governors in ensuring the Postal Service’s ability to effectively achieve its statutory responsibilities is simply too important for there to be only a single governor in office.”
Partenheimer added: “A full board made up of well-qualified governors with diverse perspectives is best suited to ensure the interests of the American public are represented in accordance with the policies set forth by Congress in the postal statute.”
Sen Tom Carper, D-Del., who has been the leading postal advocate in the Senate, said in a statement Dec. 8 that Congress has allowed the USPS to “twist in the wind” by failing to address its pleas for financial help.
Without naming Sanders, a 2016 presidential candidate, Carper said: “Obstruction in Congress has made it impossible to consider the five pending nominees” for the postal board.
Under Senate rules, any member of the chamber may object to a vote being held.
Sanders, who is supported by the American Postal Workers Union, has used that power to object to votes on board nominees who have been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
“Congressional inaction represents a failure to meet the Senate’s most basic responsibilities: to provide advice and consent on nominations in a thorough and timely manner and to provide agencies with the leadership they need to be successful,” Carper said.
“We can easily right this wrong,” he said, urging the Senate to act on the board nominees and legislation he has offered to give financial relief to the Postal Service, which has fallen behind in its required payments to the federal treasury.