A Republican lawmaker made a final stand this week to strike down legislative language requiring mail delivery six days per week, but his efforts ultimately fell short.
Rep. Darrell Issa., R-Calif., wrote a letter to the House Rules Committee stating an appropriations bill containing a rider on postal policy was outside the parameters of the chamber’s guidelines. Issa said the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he chairs, has sole jurisdiction to create postal legislation.
House Republicans’ postal point man said the six-day requirement was costing the Postal Service $2 billion annually, which the cash-strapped agency could no longer afford.
“Without meaningful reforms, such as the implementation of a modified six-day delivery schedule, all Postal Service operations are at risk, not just Saturday delivery,” Issa wrote to Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, raising a “point of order” on the spending measure.
In issuing the rules for debate and voting on the bill, however, Sessions’ committee took a waiver on the point of order, allowing the six-day mandate to stand.
The American Postal Workers Union called Issa’s efforts hypocritical, noting he did not complain about the spending bill’s reversal of Washington, D.C.’s marijuana laws.
“Rep. Issa’s complaint would be comical if it wasn’t such a serious attack on the people’s Postal Service,” APWU Legislative and Political Director John Marcotte said. “The hypocrisy is stunning but not unusual for Mr. Issa.”
The six-day rider has been included in every postal-related appropriations bill since 1983. The 2015 measure, however, did not include the requirement when originally introduced. The full Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly voted to reintroduce the language before reporting the bill to the House.
Issa previously wrote to Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., the spending bill’s author, thanking him for not including the postal provision. The oversight committee chairman has been Congress’ most active supporter of eliminating Saturday delivery, which has proven to be a major sticking point in passing a larger postal overhaul.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe supports a modified five-day delivery schedule, as does President Obama. The Postal Service announced in February of last year its plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, while keeping it for packages. It was forced to backtrack when the Government Accountability Office ruled the appropriations rider prevented the agency from delivering fewer than six days per week.
The House began consideration of the general government spending bill on Thursday.