House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Approves Postal Reform Bill
Posted by Bob Levi on 03/16/17
Earlier today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved H.R. 756, the Postal Reform Act of 2017, by voice vote. The bipartisan bill would help to stabilize postal finances and ensure its operational viability. H.R. 756 was the subject of UPMA lobbying efforts during the association's Legislative Advocacy Days, on the last two days of February. At today's committee meeting, Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and other committee members publicly thanked UPMA for its efforts in support of the measure.
Five amendments, other than a technical amendment authored by Chaffetz, were offered at the committee meeting. The chairman and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) opposed all the amendments but one, since those amendments would have destroyed the careful balance so important to the bipartisan bill.
Rep.Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) offered an amendment to require the Postal service to notify the member of Congress of it intent to close or relocate a retail postal closing or relocation at least 10 days prior to notifying the general public. The amendment passed by voice vote, with the support for Chaffetz and Cummings.
Rep. Darrel Issa offered four amendments; three were withdrawn, prior to a vote, and one was defeated on a voice vote. (Only Issa voted "yes".) The defeated amendment would have converted door-delivery to centralized if the Postal Service failed to break-even. Two of the withdrawn amendments also dealt with centralized delivery; the other withdrawn amendment amendment would have implemented 5-day mail delivery under certain circumstance.
The next stops on the legislative trail are the House Ways and Means Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Both committees have jurisdiction over the Medicare program and Medicare integration is a key element of HR 756.
The committee also approved H.R. 760, legislation introduced by Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and David McKinley (R-WV), to enable the investment of a portion of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund in index funds modeled after those established for Thrift Savings Fund investments.