Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he wants to give the struggling Postal Service more flexibility to act like a private business, including the ability to force retirement-eligible employees to step down. Meanwhile, the Postal Regulatory Commission worries the Postal Service is losing sight of its public mission.
Host Mike Causey will talk postal reform and other issues with Sally Davidow of the American Postal Workers Union, and Steve Watkins and Sean Reilly of the Federal Times. May 16, 2012
Lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C., this week with a packed agenda. Topping the list of priorities is hammering out final details of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year — Sept. 30. Amid the election-year politicking, the list of unfinished business also includes legislation to restructure the financially ailing U.S. Postal Service and a cybersecurity bill that aims to safeguard the nation’s critical infrastructure. Perhaps looming largest of all is what Congress plans to do about automatic, across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, set to take effect Jan. 2. Failure to avert the cuts could send the country over a “fiscal cliff,” budget experts warn.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says his number one priority is seeing legislation passed in the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress that will help the U.S. Postal Service get out of debt. In an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio, Donahoe details the latest on the agency’s financial situation, buyouts, the consolidation of mail processing centers, and its plan to cut window hours at half of its post offices across the country.
Surplus payments the Postal Service made to the Federal Employee Retirement System are much smaller than once thought. Last year, the surplus was estimated to be $11.4 billion. But because of a reduction in projected long-term interest rates, OPM estimated the surplus would drop to $2.6 billion. SPS had wanted to use those overpayments to pay down some of its debts
The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service can’t only cut its way to financial viability. In an increasingly digital world of declining mail volume, it also must find ways to increase revenue, the Government Accountability Office stated in a new report. Currently, USPS is pursuing 55 new initiatives designed to boost revenue.
Real reform for the U.S. Postal Service may be gaining some steam in Congress. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, tells Federal News Radio, House leadership sees room for compromise with Democrats when it comes to figuring out ways to get USPS back in the black. Farenthold supports the Postal Service’s plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery.
If Congress doesn’t pass comprehensive postal reform legislation soon, it could find itself forced to bail out the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service to the tune of billions of dollars, said Postmaster General Pat Donahoe. The postmaster general said in a speech at the National Press Club he’s optimistic Congress will pass postal reform legislation this year.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released a draft postal reform bill that supports ending Saturday mail delivery and would modify how the agency pre-funds retiree health-care payments that now threaten to sink the agency into financial insolvency. Congressional postal reform efforts have remained dormant so far this year, even as the Postal Service’s financial outlook has worsened.
In the past few weeks, competing draft proposals have been circulating on Capitol Hill. But at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took a step toward compromise. Issa agreed to make changes to his draft plan, including adopting several measures proposed by Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) in postal reform legislation he separately introduced Wednesday.