Postal issues may take back seat under new House leadership
Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister
When Democrats controlled the Committee on Oversight and Reform in the House of Representatives, postal issues such as mail service in big cities, mail trucks and postal finances were often front and center.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the committee, even took the rare step of showing up at the United States Postal Service’s press conference on electric trucks on Dec. 20, 2022
Republicans, who take control of the Oversight and Reform Committee on Jan. 3, have other ideas for the panel. Postal matters do not appear to be high on their list.
In a departing statement on Dec. 23, Maloney said: “I am proud that legislation I introduced — including a bipartisan bill to save the Postal Service — was able to do just that.”
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who will become the committee’s chairman, has made clear he wants the committee to dig into some of the Biden administration’s actions.
“Republicans will return the Oversight Committee to its primary duty to root out waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the federal government and hold the Biden Administration accountable,” Comer said in a Dec. 7 statement.
“We will continue our investigations into the national security threat posed by the Biden family’s influence peddling and shady business schemes, President Biden’s border crisis, COVID origins and U.S. taxpayer dollars used to fund dangerous research in Wuhan, the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, President Biden’s energy crisis, waste and mismanagement of pandemic relief funds, and more.”
Comer made no mention of the USPS and the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, which the committee pushed through the House with Republican support in an attempt to right the Postal Service’s long-running financial woes.
Comer’s plans have troubled some of the leading postal advocates on the committee, including Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., who used to head the House Subcommittee on Government Operations.
“The passage of the Postal Service Reform Act demonstrates that we can find bipartisanship on protecting the USPS,” Connolly said.
“While that legislation has helped steady the financial standing of the Postal Service, more work needs to be done to ensure its viability in the future. We must modernize the Postal vehicle fleet, and transform the Postal Service to efficiently meet the needs of customers.”
“Unfortunately, Republicans have already demonstrated they will be more focused on debunked witch hunts than working for the American people,” Connolly said.
“Our Committee should be a force for making government work for our constituents, not peddling lies.”
Comer’s plans could make the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee headed by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the key player on postal legislation in the new Congress.
Republicans on the Oversight and Reform Committee have been highly protective of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a prominent Republican Party fundraiser, and his Delivering for America plan.
That attitude is likely to continue in the new Congress with far less criticism and fewer hearings that challenge DeJoy and the USPS.
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