McHugh to Introduce New H.R. 22

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Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, chairman of the House Postal Service Subcommittee, is expected to introduce a modified version of H.R. 22 in May, the Postal Modernization Act. Currently, the bill is stuck in the House Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Dan Burton, R-IN.

Taking some of the votes needed to move H.R. 22 forward is competing bill H.R. 22 Lite, which was introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-PA, the ranking member of the Postal Service Subcommittee. The bill, which is still pending before the subcommittee, is supposedly backed by Democrats on the committee and a handful of Republicans who are not supportive of H.R. 22.

"Right now, we are sitting down and working with all of our supporters - the postal service, the mailers, the Federal Expresses, the newspaper associations, the nonprofit groups - and putting our heads together, trying to figure out

how we can reassess H.R. 22 to get this thing moving forward in this last session of the 106th Congress," said Robert Taub, staff director of the Postal Service


Adding to the committee's challenges is the short legislative session this year as a result of the presidential election.

"To get the bill signed by the president by the end of this session [which ends in October], Congress would have to approve any postal reform bill by September," said Taub. "If we haven't moved the bill out of Burton's committee by the end of May, the ability to pass H.R. 22 would become challenging."

While insiders said the new bill will be a slimmed version of the current bill - which is designed to give the U.S. Postal Service more freedom to manage its business and establish rules to ensure fair competition, Taub refrained from offering details of the legislation. However, he said that "the postal service and mailers all agree that modernizing our postal laws is important, and unfortunately, we are stalled. So what we are doing now is figuring out what things are important to all of us to get motivated and move something forward."

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