False Start for Postal Reform in the Senate

NAPS Leg/Reg Update – March 26, 2012

It looked like a cinch that postal reform would be coming to the Senate floor this week. Now it doesn’t.

That’s because Senate lawmakers on both sides decided Monday that they’d rather score points telling their constitutents back home over the approaching two-week recess what they’ve done to bring down gasoline prices, rather than what they did to save the ailing Postal Service.

Democrats originally thought that Republicans would resist taking up legislation (S 2204) that would roll back tax preferences for large oil companies. Instead, Republicans reflected eagerness for an election year debate on gasoline prices, and supported a procedural motion on Monday evening to take up the oil bill, which could take up the rest of this week. That would effectively sideline postal legislation (S. 1789) until after lawmakers return from the two-week recess, which occurs on April 16. Stay tuned ….

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the House postal oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Can a USPS-Run Health Plan Solve Its Financial Crisis?” The Postal Service has proposed establishing a separate health plan outside of FEHBP that it says would save $7B per year. The health plan is part of a broad five-year business plan (the “Plan to Profitability”) released by the Postal Service last month. Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe, along with FEBHP expert Walton Francis will testify at Tuesday’s hearing. To watch the hearing live (which begins at 10 am EDST) or a replay, click here.