Congress Prevents Postal Service From Reforming

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Uncategorized

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Amidst the array of federal agencies that desire nothing but perennial expansion, imagine a quasi-federal agency that is actually willing to cut back on the scope of their work?  That is exactly what the Postal Service has offered to do.

Last month, Patrick Donahoe, postmaster general of the USPS, announced that they would be ending delivery of first class mail on Saturdays beginning in August.  Donahoe has long realized that the USPS is fighting an uphill battle in remaining profitable in this age of cyber communications, especially give the fact that his agency is saddled with billions in unfunded liabilities for retirement pensions and healthcare benefits.  This is a good first step in achieving solvency.

Yet Congress is actually preventing the USPS from enacting cuts that they are willing to incur.  The CR passed by the House and on the floor in the Senate today contains a rider which prohibits the USPS from ending Saturday delivery, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:

The six-day-a-week service mandate, wrapped into a government spending bill on remaining fiscal 2013 spending, is the same one Congress has had for the past 30 years. The House has already passed the provision. The Senate is expected to follow suit as early as Tuesday.

But this time the message is being delivered as the Postal Service looks to stem mounting losses that last year neared $16 billion, and a few Senate Republicans are pushing for a change to the spending bill that they say would give the Post Office the leeway it wants.

“Congress will be hamstringing the Postal Service, hastening its demise and probably adding additional financial burdens to U.S. taxpayers” if it requires six-day-a-week service, said Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.). Mr. Corker, along with Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), has offered an amendment to drop the six-day service requirement.

If Congress won’t even enact much-needed reforms supported by the agency effected by the change, how in the world will they impose reforms on recalcitrant agencies?