Postal Service Reform Act | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Postal Service Reform Act

Letters to Officials

December 4, 2012

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative,

Reports are rampant that Congress may try to pass a postal “reform” bill in the Lame Duck session, perhaps by adding it to fiscal cliff legislation. Since the Senate-passed postal bill is inadequate and offers no structural reforms, any agreement in the Lame Duck will only be another bailout bandaid. Congress should wait until next year and do real postal reform.

Despite mounting losses, the United States Postal Service (USPS) continues to operate under an antiquated business model with far too many employees, mail processing facilities, and post offices. But the Senate-passed postal bill (S.1789) would make things worse, delaying USPS reforms to close excess facilities and post offices. The Senate bill also gives USPS an $11 billion bailout in the form of a refund from alleged overpayments made to a retirement fund. This refund would be used for additional payments to retiring USPS employees. Total costs of the Senate bill are over $33 billion over 10 years.

The House bill (H.R. 2309) reported by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee would modernize and reform the USPS. The bill would allow the USPS to cut costs, create a commission that would make recommendations to eliminate excess capacity and facilities, and return the USPS to fiscal solvency. The bill would also eliminate 6-day mail delivery, give the USPS greater freedom to manage its operations, and reduce employee benefits to levels received by other federal employees.

Given the Senate’s efforts to provide USPS with financial relief but not reform, and its interference with USPS’ own reform efforts, it is hard to imagine a bill emerging in the Lame Duck that does not cost taxpayers money in the short and long term.

The Senate bill refuses to directly address what everyone knows needs to be done if USPS is to have a fighting chance of continuing to provide mail service in the United States without requiring a costly taxpayer bailout. Even the House bill, which indirectly addresses high labor costs and excess infrastructure, may not go far enough. Certainly, the product of any last-minute Lame Duck discussions will not result in the kind of significant reforms that are necessary to pull the USPS out of the very deep financial hole in which it finds itself.

Congress should wait and pass real postal reform next year.


Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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