Postal Reform Bill — "Wait Til Next Year!"Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Yesterday, at about 3:45 PM EST, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Tom Carper D-DE pulled the plug on consideration of S. 1486 for the year. Up until that time, the Carper-Coburn postal reform bill was scheduled on the committee calendar for a Wednesday morning “markup”. Nevertheless, committee consideration of the bill was predicated on the ability of the Chairman and Committee Ranking Republican Tom Coburn R-OK to reach an agreement on a “managers’ amendment” to replace S. 1486, as introduced.
During fall hearings on S. 1486, both Senators recognized the imperfections in the bill and pledged to collaborate on a managers’ amendment to address the problems; however, a number of key disagreements between the Senators could not be resolved by Tuesday afternoon. In addition, many doubt that even if such an amendment was to have been constructed, it would have been able to garner the support of a committee majority 9 votes. So, on Monday evening, a “chairman’s substitute amendment” was under consideration, but that possibility fizzled by mid-Tuesday. Under normal circumstances, all amendments should have been filed by 5:00 PM EST, on Monday, but the rule could be waived with consent of the Chairman and Ranking Republican. In any event, committee members filed 25 amendments by the Monday deadline.
Over the past week, NAPUS Legislative Chairs represented by Senators serving on the Homeland Security were in communication with their Senators, and, on Tuesday morning, were explaining NAPUS’ positions on the key filed amendments and the underlying provisions in the bill.
In sum, a legislative reset may take place early next year, possibly with a much narrower measure that addresses just the retiree pre-funding issue and some other issues, and such a bill would probably need to be considered by the committee by Presidents’ Day. And, just in case you forgot about the House of Representatives, there has been no effort to schedule H.R. 2748, the Issa postal reform bill, for floor action.
Read more: NAPUS.