Postal Service lobbies against reform bill

With the Senate poised to vote this week on a long-stalled postal overhaul measure, Postal Service management has suggested scrapping the legislation.

Taking up the bill under unanimous consent became possible Wednesday after Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairwoman Collins, the bill's sponsor, reached an agreement with Sen. Christopher (Kit) Bond, R-Mo., who placed a hold on the measure last year. But the Postal Service, which had supported the bill, sent a letter to every senator Monday opposing it.

"The letter was a bit troubling and, frankly, a little confusing," said a spokesman for Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., also a sponsor of the bill. "We've worked closely with the Postal Service over the past year and even the past few days."

In the letter, the Postal Service noted that the White House opposes a provision transferring to the Treasury Department the cost of employees' military pensions. The agency said that language could prompt a presidential veto.

A Postal Service spokesman said the USPS fears that once the bill goes to conference, lawmakers will agree to the administration's position on the military pensions, burdening the agency with the $27 billion in pension costs. If that happens, he said postal rates could jump as much as 20 percent.

Lobbyists for bulk mailers said the agency also is concerned about new management powers the bill gives to the Postal Rate Commission. The Postal Service's spokesman agreed, saying the legislation would "severely limit the Postal Service's ability to manage itself."

Collins and Carper tried to ease Postal Services concerns with a managers' amendment that would give USPS more flexibility in implementing banking provisions in the bill. The Postal Service's spokesman said those changes will make little difference.

The Postal Service also is opposed to the compromise Bond and Collins negotiated to move the legislation forward. That agreement would call for the Postal Service to set rates that are "reasonable and just," which postal lobbyists say would give small mailers a chance to challenge rates that they see as inequitable without slowing down the rate-setting process.

Bond originally wanted Collins to include language in the House version -- and approved by the full chamber in July -- calling for rates to be "fair and equitable." That provision was requested by mailers who rely on first-class mail, including Hallmark, which is headquartered in Bond's home state.

Bond said he was concerned that without the "fair and equitable" language, the Postal Service would set rates on first class mail unfairly high. But Collins said the provision could lead to a litigious rate-setting process.

L.L. Bean, which sends out larger parcels and is headquartered in Collins' home state of Maine, also opposed the "fair and equitable" clause.

The "reasonable and just" language placated small mailers, according to postal lobbyists. "They feel they've been taken care of," one lobbyist said.

But the agreement was not as warmly received by the Postal Service, which worries the language would limit the agency's ability to set rates and had opposed the "fair and equitable" provision.

The compromise "doesn't make any difference, it has the same net effect," the Postal Service spokesman said.

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

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
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)

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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