US House Oversight Committee passes postal reform legislation
The US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed two bipartisan bills on Tuesday (12 July) which aim to reform the US Postal Service (USPS). The Postal Service Reform Act [H.R. 5714] – which was cosponsored by the Committee’s Chairman, Jason Chaffetz, and its Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, as well as Representatives Mark Meadows, Stephen F. Lynch and Gerry Connolly – has a stated aim to “enhance revenue, improve efficiency, integrate Medicare, and streamline governance and oversight of the Postal Service.
The Postal Service Financial Improvement Act of 2016 [H.R. 5707] – cosponsored by Representatives Lynch and David McKinley – seeks to “authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to invest a limited amount of the Retiree Health Benefits Fund in market-based index funds and establish a Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund Investment Committee to help advise the Treasury Secretary on investments made from the Fund”.
Commenting on the Committee’s passing of the Postal Service Reform Act, Chaffetz said: “This bill reflects how working in a bipartisan, collaborative manner can bring about much needed reform. The outlook for the Postal Service is grim without the improvements contained in this bill. I hope the legislation sees quick action by the full House so the Postal Service can be one step closer to a viable, solvent future.”
Lynch added: “We have a unique opportunity to put the Postal Service on a path to a more stable financial footing and ensure a secure future for postal employees, the mailing community, and the American people who depend on this trusted government institution. It is critical to act now and make commonsense reforms if we want the Postal Service to continue to meet its universal service obligation and be able to pay its bills next year.”
Senator Tom Carper – who introduced the iPOST bill in September and has had a long-standing involvement with postal issues – welcomed the Oversight Committee’s decision.
“Today’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passage of postal reform legislation is real progress in our fight to stabilize the Postal Service and give this 200-year-old American institution the tools and resources it needs not only to return to solvency, but also to thrive in the 21st century,” said Carper.
Carper added: “Reliable service is at the core of what the Postal Service does every day. Unfortunately, too many postal customers have seen service erode in recent years as the Postal Service has been forced to significantly cut costs to keep its head above water. The American people deserve to know that they will get their mail on time, and we in Congress have a responsibility to ensure that the Postal Service has the ability to reach communities across the country in a timely manner.
“I am committed to continuing to work with the House sponsors to address the critical service problems that for many have only seemed to spiral further out of control. We must restore the public’s trust in the Postal Service and ensure that all consumers, regardless of their zip code, are receiving the fast, affordable, and dependable service they rely on. As this bill makes its way to the House floor and over to the Senate, I look forward to finding consensus on the critical issue of service performance as well as other measures that are needed to bring financial stability back to the Postal Service.”