On July 12, 2016, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR) rushed to pass legislation bailing out the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)—the so-called Postal Service Reform Act (H.R. 5714)—without a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or a recorded vote. In the process, OGR released a rebuttal document in response to Heritage Action’s statement of opposition. The following are responses to those rebuttals.
Rebuttal #1: “There is a lot for Conservatives to like in this bill. H.R. 5714 treats the Postal Service more like a private sector business. The bill cuts Postal Service costs while also taking away the strongest anti-reform argument: that the agency is only struggling because of an ‘unfair’ retiree health care requirement.”
Response: There is a reason liberal Democrats and USPS support H.R. 5714. It rewards the Postal Service, and its constituencies, with their number one priority for years—relief from their current health care contributions in exchange for few reforms. In fact, it is the important reform principle established in 1971 that USPS should be treated more like a business—responsible for both its assets and liabilities—that is grounds for opposition to the bill. The bill shifts liabilities to taxpayers.
This week the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a markup of the 2016 Postal Service Reform Act. Postal reform has been a priority of the Heritage Foundation since at least 2003, and Heritage Action since its formation. Heritage Action is opposed to this legislation. Below is run down of the major concerns with the legislation as drafted.
Yesterday, the Senate approved the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011 (S. 1789). We key voted against this bill because it amounts to about a $40 billion taxpayer bailout, and the suggestions of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to end Saturday delivery and trim the workforce were ignored. The vote results on the motion to proceed are below, along with a list of Republicans who voted incorrectly and Democrats who voted correctly (albeit some of them for the wrong reasons):
This week, the Senate is expected to (finally) take up 3 bills which Heritage Action has key voted: the Postal Bailout Reform bill, the so-called Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the Snap Elections Resolution of Disapproval. The postal bailout and VAWA need to be taken down, but the Senate should support the Resolution of Disapproval, and here’s why:
Today, around 11:00 AM EDT, the Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on postal reform. Last night, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) filed a 163-page substitute amendment that replaced the underlying “bailout” bill. Prior to this amendment, the bill included a $41 billion bailout and ignored the suggestions of the United State Postal Service on how to cut costs.
According to press reports (sub. req’d), self-identified socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called the amendment “a step forward.” The official score on the new bill is still out (yet they’re going to move ahead on it anyway), and based on previous bills offer, we see no reason to believe that this one will be any better or contain no bailouts. Heritage Action will continue to review the new legislative language.