Congressman Wants Presidential Postal Commission

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A member of the House Committee on Government Reform is calling for a presidential commission to address the mission and operations of the U.S. Postal Service.

Steven C. LaTourette, R-OH, sent a letter to members of Congress this month requesting support for a nonpartisan, independent commission of citizens with business, labor, consumer and economic experience to advise the Bush administration and Congress on how the USPS should be restructured and reformed.

The letter said the commission should complete its work in 18 months to 24 months with a budget approved by the administration and costs paid by the postal service.

Irit Mizrahi, a legislative aide for LaTourette, said the letter's main purpose was to "try to generate interest in postal reform and get the ball rolling on postal issues."

This is not the first call for a presidential postal commission. Last year, a coalition of mailers and consumer advocates sought one to deal with financial woes at the agency. Many major mailing groups signed on but the Direct Marketing Association opposed the proposal, saying such a commission would simply study an issue that already has been a topic of much analysis on Capitol Hill over the past five years.

Meanwhile, direct mailers and the USPS are gearing up for more postal reform discussion in Congress this spring.

Speaking this month at a Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting in Washington, Deborah Willhite, USPS senior vice president, government relations, said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, and Rep. Dan Burton, R-IN, are working on a compromise postal reform bill and that Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, also is working on a reform bill.

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