Mailers Cheer New House Government Reform Chairman

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Mailers were pleased by the appointment of Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-VA, yesterday as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. Among other functions, this committee oversees the U.S. Postal Service.


Davis succeeds Rep. Dan Burton, who stepped down from that post because House members are not allowed to hold a committee or subcommittee chairmanship for more than six years. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, remains the committee's ranking minority member.


"This is very good news for the mailing community," said Neal Denton, executive director, alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Washington. "He really understands the issues and has been engaged in them. He is very supportive of the necessary fix to the Civil Service Retirement System, which is extremely important to us."


Denton is referring to the legislation needed to let the USPS lower its pension contributions to the CSRS. The USPS estimates it could save $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2003 and $2.6 billion in FY 2004, and postmaster general John E. Potter has said such savings could keep postal rates steady until 2006.


Quick passage is critical since the postal service has begun preparing its next rate case and could submit it to the Postal Rate Commission as early as April if the law is not changed.


Davis had been chairman of the Government Reform subcommittee on technology and procurement policy since 2000. Previously, he led the subcommittee on the District of Columbia.


On the Senate side, Republican leaders are expected to name Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, to chair the Governmental Affairs Committee. It is not known who will head the subcommittee that oversees postal issues. The position would have gone to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-MS, who was the ranking minority member of the postal subcommittee last year, but insiders said he likely would get a full committee chairmanship.


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