Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. Charles Dharapak/AP

Is the Latest Postal Reform Bill Too Much of a Compromise?

Legislation pitched by bipartisan duo has detractors on both sides.

It is often said around Washington that in order to reach true compromise, parties on both sides of the debate must be unhappy.

In that respect, Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., have certainly succeeded in finding middle ground on postal reform. The chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee introduced a proposal to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service last week and -- despite the bipartisan sponsorship -- many are unhappy with their product.

Carper’s counterpart in the House, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., expressed optimism with parts of the proposal, but said he and the senators “differ on our approach in many areas.”

Now, Carper and Coburn are receiving pointedly negative feedback from postal unions. A letter signed by every major group representing USPS employees -- including the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers -- implored Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to reject the bill.

“On behalf of 500,000 employees of the U.S. Postal Service, who live and work in all 50 states, we wish to express our utter dismay with the introduction of S. 1486,” the unions wrote in the letter. “It renews a commitment to the disastrous Bush administration policy to mandate massive prefunding of future retiree health benefits and provides major downsizing measures to pay for it.”

In addition to continuing -- though alleviating -- prefunding requirements, the groups decried the bill’s eventual elimination of Saturday mail delivery, closing of processing plants, reduction of door-to-door delivery and reforms to workers’ compensation statutes. The unions said the Postal Service has shown signs of recovery -- with operational profits so far in fiscal 2013 -- thus rendering the reforms in the Carper-Coburn bill unnecessary.

The unions said they recognize the need for some changes. They support, however, the Postal Service Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. That legislation would completely repeal the prefunding requirement and preserve six-day delivery standards. It would also reinstate overnight delivery, which would in turn protect processing plant closures. The bill would attempt to grow revenue by expanding business opportunities at the agency.

Sanders, too, announced his disapproval with the Carper-Coburn plan, calling it “weaker” than the bill that passed the Senate -- but died in the House -- last Congress. Sanders supported that bill, though Coburn and most Republicans -- and a handful of Democrats -- voted against it.

“While we all understand that the Postal Service is experiencing financial problems today and that changes need to be made, providing fewer services and poorer quality is not the way to save the Postal Service,” Sanders said in a statement on the new proposal. “That is why I am strongly opposed to this legislation.”

Thirty Democrats co-sponsored Sanders’ bill, including three members of Carper’s committee.

A committee aide said the Carper-Coburn bill came together very quickly and the leaders’ staffs have not had time to rally support for the legislation. They plan to do so over the August recess, however, and move forward with the bill in September.

The bill’s sponsors have already expressed an openness to altering their proposals.

“This proposal is a rough draft of an agreement subject to change that I hope will move us closer to a solution that will protect taxpayers and ensure the Postal Service can remain economically viable while providing vital services for the American people,” Coburn said in a statement.

While Carper and Coburn hope to recruit members of their parties to endorse the bill, the unions say it is a non-starter.

“This is completely beyond anything appropriate,” said Sally Davidow, a spokeswoman for APWU. “We don’t see this as a starting point.” 

NEXT STORY: George W. Bush Has Heart Surgery

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.