Groups Weigh in to Senate on Postal Reform

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Major mailing and postal associations sent letters and testimony to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs urging Congress to examine postal reform early in the next session of the 108th Congress.

The groups included the Direct Marketing Association, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Association for Postal Commerce, National League of Postmasters and the Postal Rate Commission.

The Senate committee had asked groups to comment on the recommendations of the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service, which submitted its report on reform over the summer.

The committee may use this information to decide who testifies at a postal reform hearing, which -- though no date has been announced -- is expected to take place early next year, according to insiders.

The DMA said it thinks commission recommendations such as rightsizing its infrastructure, workforce and service offerings should be foremost among the changes enacted by Congress, along with incorporating a flexible, incentive-based rate-setting process.

But the DMA said it is "cognizant of the need to distinguish between matters of operational efficiency and public policy and the need to determine the appropriate degree to which the Congress should delegate authority in these arenas."

The DMA also said it supports the commission recommendation that $27 billion associated with the USPS funding of Civil Service Retirement System benefits earned by employees while serving in the military should be borne by taxpayers, not ratepayers, as is the case for all other federal government entities.

The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers also urged Congress to address the issues surrounding the escrow fund associated with the CSRS reform measure and the assignment of military service time costs for those USPS retirees covered in the CSRS plan.

"A fair and rapid resolution of these fiscal uncertainties might allow the USPS to stretch out the current rate cycle and allow mailers and consumers an opportunity to recover lost volumes and provide robust growth to the postal service," the Alliance's letter said.

On the commission's recommendation that the Postal Rate Commission be transformed into a Postal Regulatory Board, the PRC said it would accept such a challenge and "stands ready to fulfill whatever role may be found appropriate and necessary to achieve that goal."

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