Postal Updates

Bill McAllister

Another postal reform effort fades away

June 27, 2017 03:30 PM

  • The June 30 resignation of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (left) may spell the end for the postal reform bill he sponsored. Rep. Trey Gowdy (right) is replacing Chaffetz as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Washington Postal Scene — By Bill McAllister

It’s hardly a surprise to many in Washington’s postal community, but the lawmaker who crafted the House’s bipartisan postal legislation says his bill appears dead.

That is what departed House Oversight chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told The Hill newspaper shortly before his resignation from Congress became effective June 30.

“You can continue to get frustrated and whine about it or you can leave, so I’ve decided to leave,” Chaffetz told the paper. 

“I’ve got three big prospects and no daylight to actually get them done, and that absolutely was a factor in making my decision,” he said.               

One of those “prospects” was the postal bill, which Chaffetz said the House GOP leaders did not want to bring to the floor.

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The other two bills were one that would have eased the way for immigrants with high skills to work in the United States, and one that would have given greater powers to states to place sales taxes on online purchases.

Republican leaders in the House had little interest in his legislative agenda, Chafftez said.

He told The Washington Post that his inability to secure passage of his postal bill left him the "most frustrated and just flat-out disappointed … "

"I'm fairly critical of my own leadership because I see no good reason not to move it," Chaffetz said. 

"It saves money, it's bipartisan and it's desperately needed,” he said. " … I'm dumbfounded as to why it hasn't been brought up."

The new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., “has expressed an interest in pursuing postal reform,” according to Amanda Gonzalez, his spokeswoman.

Gowdy and Chaffetz have been key players in the high-profile House investigations of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

The Chaffetz postal legislation cleared the committee in March, raising hopes that the House would address the financial woes facing the U.S. Postal Service.

But given the pending July recess and other measures that the Trump administration has given high priority, the chances of postal legislation clearing Congress this year are considered slim by many postal industry officials.