Senator Tom Carper, the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees the US Postal Service, says he agrees with yesterday’s Appeals Court decision that said the PRC acted correctly in making the exigent rate hike temporary. Last year Carper was backing legislation that would have made the rate hike permanent. The Carper bill would also have increased the cap on USPS price increases. Carper was a co-author of the 2006 PAEA law that helped create the “financial challenges” he refers to in his statement:
It’s no secret that the U.S. Postal Service continues to face serious financial challenges that threaten its future and long-term growth. Nearly two years ago, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) put into place a temporary emergency surcharge on postal rates to help the Postal Service make ends meet. Since then, this increase in rates has served as a life preserver for the struggling Postal Service and has helped the institution keep its head above water as it continues to lose money. I agree with today’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to remand the rate determination to the PRC, and call on the body to reexamine how the emergency rate was calculated. Regardless of what the PRC ultimately decides, piecemeal efforts like this, while helpful, are not enough on their own to fundamentally fix the Postal Service’s severe financial problems. I believe the best way to help the Postal Service gain a sustainable financial footing is through comprehensive postal reform legislation. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress, the Administration, and stakeholders to fix the serious, but solvable challenges facing the Postal Service.
Carper’s proposed legislation had the backing of Senator Tom Coburn, who was the ranking GOP member on the committee in the last Congress. Such a bipartisan effort is unlikely in the current Senate- Coburn has retired, and new Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, a Tea Party Senator from Wisconsin, would prefer to eliminate the USPS altogether.