Issa Ready to Compromise on Postal Bill; Awaits Dems' Response

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The author of the House postal reform bill seeks a compromise by adding Obama Administration proposals, but fears interest groups are sabotaging the effort.

Cummings (l.) won't meet Issa on postal reform. Photo: BET
Cummings (l.) won't meet Issa on postal reform. Photo: BET

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) postponed a meeting of his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform yesterday because he failed to hear from Democratic members on their willingness to fashion a compromise postal reform bill incorporating proposals from the Obama Administration.

Issa's bill was approved by the committee on strict party lines last year. But in an effort to win bipartisan support and bring the bill in closer alignment with one introduced in the Senate, Issa expressed a willingness to bring the administration into the loop and advance legislation this year.

In a May 6 letter to the committee's Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Issa urged attendance of Democrat members at yesterday's scheduled meeting to hammer out a revised bill that would implement provisions proposed in the President's 2015 budget. These include immediate transition to five-day delivery, re-amortizing the Postal Service's contributions to its retiree's health benefits fund, and establishing the 4.3% exigent rate increase as a permanent part of the rate base.

“This new proposal contains some provisions I do not support, but it is a compromise I could accept to help us enact necessary bipartisan reforms to save the Postal Service,” Issa wrote to Cummings. Issa noted that subsequent meetings with staff members of Democratic committee members opened the door to compromises, such as allowing a grace period of five years for package delivery on Saturdays, and a provision that there could not be two consecutive days without mail delivery.

Noting that he had strong reservations about making exigency permanent, Issa added that he believed it “vital for this committee to make every effort in its power…to save a beleaguered agency that is still a vital lifeline to millions of Americans.”

Issa further expressed to Cummings his fears that unnamed special interest groups were out to “sabotage support for the President's proposal, even amongst his own party, and push the Postal Service closer to a taxpayer-funded bailout.”

The meeting to consider the administration's input had not yet been rescheduled at press time.

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