Postal funding could be tied to reform legislation

Efforts to reform the Postal Service are likely to become intertwined with the agency's attempts to get emergency funding for its fight against anthrax attacks. Postal Service officials estimate that it will cost $2 billion to install new security devices designed to decontaminate mail laced with anthrax bacteria. Agency officials are negotiating with White House and congressional budgeters on how to pay for the equipment.

Last week President Bush announced plans to give the agency $175 million and the Postal Service's Board of Governors approved spending of at least $200 million to buy or lease irradiation equipment. There is little doubt on Capitol Hill that the agency will ask for additional emergency funding. "Before we start giving taxpayer money of that magnitude, let's make sure we are not giving it to a sinking ship," said Robert Taub, chief of staff for Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., the leading advocate of postal reform. McHugh has drafted a new version of postal reform legislation that would give the agency more flexibility in setting rates and would prohibit ventures into electronic commerce and other schemes that fall outside the Postal Service's core mission. During the past six years, McHugh has failed to get other members to pay attention to, let alone pass, postal reform legislation. The Postal Service is self-funded, getting less than 1 percent of its operating budget from the general treasury. Even before the war on terrorism, the agency expected losses of more than $1.6 billion this fiscal year. Data for the first month of fiscal 2002 are not good, showing overall mail volume is down 6.6 percent from the same period in 2000. On Sept. 10, the board approved filing a rate case, the second in two years, seeking an overall increase of nearly 9 percent. Without reform, many postal observers fear that rates will continue to climb for the foreseeable future. It's prudent for Congress to take up reform at the same time as an emergency funding package, said Gene Del Polito, president of the Association of Postal Commerce, because the long-term health of the agency depends on it. "At the end of the day, we are in a unique situation that we have had 535 members of Congress focused on the Postal Service," added Taub. "Reform has to be a part of the debate. We have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.