At Postal Vision 2020, Senator Tom Carper indicated that he hopes to have a Postal reform bill on the President’s desk by the July 4th recess and if not then by the August recess. He expects to work toward passage of a postal reform bill within this time frame in the Senate through regular orders. This means he will hold a hearing and accept comments on a public draft of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee drafted bill within the next month. Then after a short period of reviewing this testimony and comments submitted, the Committee will hold a business meeting to mark-up the bill. Given the Senator’s time frame, it would appear that mark-up could occur as early as late May or early June.
Senator Carper believes that Congress will be able to work on this aggressive schedule because:
- Senate Bill 1789 provides a framework for discussions going forward in framing a Senate bill.
- The negotiations completed between the House and Senate at the end of the last Congress reduced disagreements between the two sides. The negotiations were conducted even though the House was not able to pass a bipartisan bill as the Senate did.
- Discussions that he has had with Congressman Darrell Issa, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Senator Tom Coburn have made progress on developing core principles for the postal reform effort.
- He expects that the House of Representatives will be able to work on a schedule as aggressive as he described for the Senate
Legislative Provisions Senator Carper Expects to be Part of the Senate Postal Reform Bill
As for specific provisions that may are be discussed that may be included in the bill that the Senate will propose, Senator Carper mentioned:
- Provisions that were included in S. 1789 such as:
- A process that will give communities that face the potential loss of a Post Office, options for continuing to provide postal retail services;
- A provision that continue to allow the Postal Service to its network downsizing along the line that it is currently implementing;
- Restructuring of the retiree health benefit payment obligation over a period possibly as long as 40 years;
- Refund of the Postal Service’s overpayment of the FERS fund with that overpayment going toward paying out early retirement incentives and paying down the Postal Service debt;
- Creation of a limited expansion of options available to the Postal Service to generate new revenue including options for delivering beer and wine, day of the week pricing, and offering stamps depicting current events and living individuals; and
- Requiring the Postal Service to seek all other means to improve its finances over the next two years and only at that time grant the Postal Service the legal permission to cut delivery days from 6 to 5.
Senator Carper indicated that a final bill may need to make a compromise that speeds the Postal Service’s ability to reduce the number of delivery days. He also indicated that Congressman Issa’s idea to shift mail delivery from door delivery to cluster boxes may be included in some manner in the final bill.