House Democrats Won't Get on Board With Republican, White House-Backed Postal Bill

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Postal reform hit yet another snag on Wednesday after a scheduled House committee vote on a new piece of legislation was postponed due to a lack of bipartisan support.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced the delay just hours before a markup of his new bill overhauling the U.S. Postal Service was scheduled to begin. Issa introduced a bill to mirror a proposal put forward by the White House in President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal.   

The committee previously passed an Issa-backed bill requiring more significant cuts without any Democratic support. Issa said during a hearing last month that he hoped by offering provisions backed by the White House, he could achieve a bipartisan bill.

Issa sent a letter to the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Tuesday asking for his -- and the rest of the committee Democrats’ -- support on the new legislation. The chairman said after not hearing back from Cummings he would postpone the markup. Issa explained he offered a version of the president’s proposal with slight alterations to draw the backing of Democrats, such as a requirement for six-day package delivery and the removal of language to permanently increase rates. Democrats responded with trepidation, however, and Issa drafted a bill that mirrored exactly the White House plan.

“Ultimately,” Issa wrote in the letter, “this revised proposal is a direct attempt to reach a bipartisan consensus on a postal reform package. Again, it includes provisions I have strong reservations about…but I believe it is vital for this committee to make every effort within its power to move forward on a bipartisan basis on commonsense reforms to save a beleaguered agency that is still a vital lifeline to millions of Americans and to our economy as a whole.”

A Democratic committee staffer told Government Executive Cummings would not support the bill.

“Cummings appreciates the commitment of the administration to the goal of comprehensive postal reform,” the staffer said, “but he cannot support this legislation because, among other provisions, it would reduce the frequency of first-class mail delivery in the United States, while raising the costs of this service.”

Obama’s proposal would eliminate mail delivery on Saturdays, but the staffer said “there is widespread, bipartisan opposition to cutting mail delivery to just five days per week.” The aide added “discussions are ongoing” between USPS management, labor unions and stakeholders to identify principles that they and both parties can support.

Becca Watkins, a spokeswoman for Issa, said the chairman’s offering of the White House plan “represents an extraordinary effort to build bipartisan ground.”

“The chairman intends to bring the president’s proposal before the committee at a date to be determined,” Watkins 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.