Politics Trumps Policy : Surprised?

Campaigns

The Hill  has reported that House Republican campaign strategy drove H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act, off the legislative track for action prior to the August recess. The delay would prioritize election-year messaging votes over actions to rescue the Postal Service, which is currently losing $25 million a day and is on track to bleed billions of dollars again this fiscal year. More recent reporting has indicated that political considerations may have possibly killed any chance that the House of Representatives will act on postal reform at all in this session of Congress. What will House Do Instead? Right now the House schedule appears to want to only deal with [...] Read more »

House Schedule This Week Includesd Three USPS Bills (To Name Post Offices)

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This week’s House of Representatives schedule included three bills that were considered on Tuesday that named Post Offices. As noted by others, naming Pot Offices is the most common legislative activity in the current Congress. The schedule did not have any specific items for consideration on Wednesday, June 27th or Thursday, June 28th which would indicates that there would have been floor time to debate USPS reform this week if the bill’s sponsors wanted to move the legislation forward this week. However, Chairman Darrell Issa, who is one of the two sponsors of H.R. 2309, appears to have bumped postal reform legislation down on his list of priorities as he continues [...] Read more »

Gene DelPolito on the Status of Postal Reform Bills

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One of the biggest concerns of readers of this blog is  the long term prospects for the Postal Service.    This and the next few Posts contain an interview with Gene Del Polito, the President of the Association for Postal Commerce and his opinions on: the current status of postal reform bill approved by the responsible committees in the House of Representatives and Senate; potential legislative options other than those currently introduced to date; impact of Congress not acting on decisions of mailers and parcel shippers to use the Postal Service; labor-management relations; problems facing flat-shaped mailers government provided postal services; mail box monopoly; a U.S. approach to privatization; and other topics. [...] Read more »

House Passage of HR 2309 Likely in 2012

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In his incendiary tweets last week, Chairman Darrell Issa laid out a marker on postal reform. He will not step back from championing H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act of 2011, which faces some challenges in the House and no future in the Senate. Why is he being stubborn? Chairman Issa knows that his ability to influence the future of postal reform requires that he ensure that he can hold a majority of the Republican caucus behind his approach. From the beginning, he and Congressman Dennis Ross have used language supporting their bills that hit the hot-button Republican talking points. In particular, these talking points include opposition to: government spending, [...] Read more »

The Political Impact of Tweets from Representatives Issa and Ross

In a series of tweets today (see below), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa repeated the assertion that Postmaster Pat Donahoe “folded like a cheap suit” when he “caved to political pressure just as it was making long-overdue rightsizing decisions.” This follows Representative Dennis Ross’s suggestion that the Postmaster General may need to be replaced. As Dead Tree Edition, the Postalnews.com blog and this blog have all shown, their statements reflect politics and not policy. Even with “caving to political pressure,” the Postal Service’s network realignment would happen a year or two earlier than it would if the President signed the House bill today. So why would [...] Read more »

Ross Says Firing PMG May Have To Be First Step

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In response to a question that I posed about modifying the House bill to reflect that the Postal Service’s network restructuring will occur before a BRAC could meet and make a decision, Representative Dennis Ross tweeted: @CEP_Observer won’t be modifying.  PMG is trying to delay an deflect.  First Brac management change may have to start at the top [emphisis added] Representative Ross’s response is nonsensical.  Even with the month delay agreed to, the Postal Service would be cutting the number of plants, at least a year earlier than any BRAC could act.  What would a BRAC do if the plants are already closed? My original question: @RepDennisRoss Isn’t the Brac [...] Read more »

Mailers Now Facing Large Rate Increase

By rejecting the Postal Service’s position that its retirement obligations are overstated, the Government Accountability Office has forced the Postal Service to find an additional $5, 5 billion in cuts or $5.5 billion in revenue. As the Postal Service’s financial plan already includes cuts in service quality, post offices, and employee benefits as well as the layoffs of 120,000 employees, its only option is raising revenue. Raising $5.5 billion will require Postal Service to increase rates sufficiently to increase total revenue by $5.5 billion. This is an 8.4% increase in revenue over current levels. Given that rate increases result in lower mail volumes, the total increase in rates would have [...] Read more »

Congressman Ross Open to Tradeoffs in Postal Reform Bill

In a set of tweets relating to a tweet promoting the Post, “Congressman Ross Clarifies His Position on Retiree Obligations,” Congressman Ross states that RepDennisRossDennis Ross @CEP_Observer It is not in there now, but there are many things that could change about the bill. Open to tradeoffs.   The full discussion in Twitter is as follows:   CEP_ObserverAlan Robinson Did @RepDennisRoss change his position on #usps FERS overpayment? What else did he say about retiree payments? http://t.co/BWtXWlb   RepDennisRossDennis Ross @ @CEP_Observer didn’t change positions at all. even OPM says FERS is a diff story than CSRS. still, FERS “overpmt” is not in hand.   CEP_ObserverAlan Robinson @ @RepDennisRoss Then [...] Read more »

Congressman Ross Clarifies His Position on Retiree Obligations

In response to a comment on his Facebook Page, Congressman Ross clarified his position on prefunding and overpayments of retiree liability. Doc Piper’s Comment Rep. Ross, if you truely denied the overpayment of USPS to OPM, you are intentionally lying. OPM collects it into their budget with no reguard to the overpayment. If you are an honest Representative you will admit the money paid and demand it into a trust fund, so that no taxpayer will have to supplement the USPS. But you canot deny the payment made and then refuse its return. That’s a plain lie. Congressman Ross’s Response Post #1 FERS, perhaps, but not CSRS. The prefunding requirements is [...] Read more »

Is Privatization Worse for Labor than the Issa/Ross bill?

Congressman Dennis Ross made the following comment in a discussion on his Facebook page suggesting the alternative to the Issa/Ross bill is privatization.  The quote in full: I have sat down with NALC, Rural Carriers, APWU and many others. I have met with the PMG on countless occasions. What your union wont tell you is, the status quo, will lead to privatization of the USPS in less than 5 years and …a nullification of every contract. The current path of the USPS is financially unsustainable and for the last time, it has NOTHING to do with prefunding. Those are the facts.  Congressman Ross is correct that the current path is financially [...] Read more »