House Postal Hearing: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

On April 30, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform conducted a 3½ hour hearing on the Postal Service’s financial condition and the need for legislative reform.

Testimony was offered by Postmaster General Megan Brennan, the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, the president of Quad/Graphics, a senior staff member of the Postal Regulatory Commission, and a representative from the Cato Institute. The entire hearing can be viewed on the committee website. The prepared testimony can also be viewed on the committee website.

A large part of the hearing focused on the need for prompt enactment of legislation. Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and the PMG favored legislation similar to last year’s bipartisan bill (H.R. 756), which the committee had originally approved by voice vote. Cummings highlighted the impact that falling first class mail volume and increasing operational expenses have had on the agency since that time.

He noted that the Postal Service had responded to its challenges by reducing the number of employees, expanding the use of non-career workers, consolidating facilities and reducing retail hours of operation. Ranking Republican member Jim Jordan (R-OH) suggested that a European version of postal privatization represented a viable path for maintaining mail service to the country. The Cato Institute, a libertarian Washington-based think tank, promotes such privatization.

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