Postal Reform Markup Set for May 23

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While a spokesman for Rep. Dan Burton, R-IN, chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, said a postal reform bill would be marked up May 23, a spokesman for Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, said he would "be very surprised if a bill was marked up" this week.

Waxman sponsored one of two postal reform drafts that were folded into the reform bill. Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, sponsored the other. Waxman's spokesman would not say why he thought the bill would not be marked up.

Meanwhile, Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-HI, along with Waxman and Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-IL, sent a letter last week to the General Accounting Office asking the agency to investigate whether postal rates subsidize big mailers.

"We are concerned with recent reports that the United States Postal Service may be offering work-sharing discounts to mailers that exceed the cost savings realized by the postal service," the congressmen said in their May 15 letter to GAO comptroller general David M. Walker.

Work-sharing discounts, also called negotiated service agreements, may be part of the postal reform bill.

The congressmen requested that GAO determine whether, and to what extent, major mailers' discounts are justified.

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