Katherine Welles/Shutterstock.com

Postal Service Funds Would Go to Highways Under House GOP Proposal

The shift would benefit both motorists and the USPS, Republican leaders argue.

House Republicans are constructing a proposal to keep thousands of roads and transit projects from grinding to a halt this summer by transferring funds into the nation's nearly depleted Highway Trust Fund from the already money-losing U.S. Postal Service.

But in a memo to rank-and-file House GOP members dated Friday, Speaker John Boehner and his top two lieutenants cast the plan they are crafting as one that would also work to benefit the Postal Service—by granting its request to reduce Saturday delivery service.

That, members are told, would allow the USPS "to better operate within its own revenue stream" while also providing $10.7 billion in offsets over 10 years that could be used for the trust fund.

At least one conservative group, Heritage Action for America, has already come out against the idea.

"The idea Congress would use a supposedly self-funding agency that cannot pay its bills as a piggy bank to fund another bankrupt, self-funding fund is absurd," said Heritage spokesman Dan Holler.

But Friday's memo from Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy says, "We firmly believe that this is the best way to ensure continued funding of highway projects in a fiscally responsible manner that implements a needed structural reform to a growing federal liability."

"As you may be aware, as a result of lower than anticipated revenues into the Highway Trust Fund, the [fund] will require an additional transfer of funds prior to the August District Work Period," the memo says in explaining the urgency of finding a solution. "Failing to provide additional funds would mean a disruption of ongoing construction projects—right in the midst of the construction season."

In fact, some estimates are that as many as 700,000 jobs would be lost over a year unless the trust fund is replenished. The fund has run toward insolvency because its primary revenue source is the federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel sales, which currently is 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel. But those rates were set in 1993. Since that time, motor-vehicle fuel efficiency has increased significantly and the fund has not kept pace with rising costs.

Based on Congressional Budget Office estimates of revenues and spending continuing at current levels, an additional $14 billion to $15 billion would be needed for a one-year extension of the trust fund, the memo says.

But under current House Rules, the GOP leaders write, a transfer of general funds into the Highway Trust Fund must be offset.

"Given the limited window for action, we believe it is important that an offset be simple and have the support of the Administration and Congressional Republicans," they write, adding, "We are preparing a proposal that would combine a move to modified six-day postal delivery along with a short-term extension of the highway bill that places the necessary resources into the Trust Fund to prevent a disruption of highway projects."

In a question-and-answer section attached to the memo, the issue of taking money from the Postal Service is presented in a positive light—even though the service currently underfunds its own retiree benefit costs, and potentially needs taxpayer bailouts to cover operating losses such as 2012's $15.9 billion shortfall.

According to the Q&A, one potential proposal would be to end the delivery of first-class mail, catalogs, advertising circulars, and other lower-priority mail on Saturdays.

"The proposal would still allow for Saturday delivery of packages (including medications) and priority and express mail. Post offices would remain open on Saturdays and there would be no changes for delivery of mail to post office boxes," it states.

"Adopting this proposal would save $10.7 billion over the next ten years," the memo says, adding that this modification could be used to offset the highway fund programs.

"It is a realistic offset because President Obama's FY 2015 budget also recommends termination of Saturday mail delivery by the USPS," states the Q&A.

In addition, it says such a postal reform "would help forestall a future federal bailout of the Postal Service by enabling the USPS to better operate within its own revenue stream."

"This is a real savings for the general fund of the treasury (in the form of reducing the size of a future bailout)," it says.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.