Postal Reform Still At Least Several Months Off

Elaine Thompson/AP file photo

At least one lawmaker has set August as the target for passing comprehensive reform to the U.S. Postal service, according to reports.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told Bloomberg Thursday overhauling USPS is “eminently doable,” setting the goal of sending a bill to President Obama by the end of the summer.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had previously set the end of March as the goal to pass legislation.

Government Executive reported earlier this week Carper was planning to introduce legislative language for an eventual reform bill “in the near future.”

A Democratic aide in the oversight committee said “it’s impossible to say” what will happen when. While lawmakers have expressed their desire to reach agreement on a bipartisan, bicameral proposal, the aide said, “various people are working on their bills.”

The House committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to “explore a range of options to avoid a multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded bailout and restore USPS to long-term financial solvency,” according a statement put out by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the committee’s chairman.

Issa condemned the Postal Service’s decision to cancel plans to move to a five-day mail delivery schedule, calling the choice a major roadblock to reaching a deal on reform legislation.

“The Postal Service’s decision to first pursue modified Saturday delivery and then renege on its cost-cutting plan has seriously set back efforts to advance postal reform legislation,” Issa said in the statement. “This hearing will allow us to review a wide variety of options to bring the troubled agency back from insolvency.”

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and members of the USPS Board of Governors will testify at the hearing.

Carper told Bloomberg he will be meeting with Issa and others next week to continue with negotiations for the bill.

A House committee aide on the Republican side would not comment on the timeline but noted that “Chairman Issa and Oversight Committee staff have remained engaged with Senate counterparts and stakeholders since last Congress.”

Officials from the Postal Service -- which is currently losing $25 million per day -- have repeatedly called for congressional action to alleviate the agency’s fiscal situation.

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