McHugh Calls Transformation Plan a 'Plea for Help'

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The U.S. Postal Service's Transformation Plan is a "plea for help," said Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, the former chairman of the House postal subcommittee and current member of the House Committee on Government Reform.

Congress and the General Accounting Office asked the USPS to outline how it intends to manage in the wake of changing global markets, new technologies and the need to deliver mail to an ever-increasing number of addresses.

"Without a fundamental shift in the postal service's regulatory framework and rate-making system," McHugh said in a statement, "we face a series of unattractive options to keep our postal system operating."

Time, however, is running short.

"I hope to move a bipartisan reform proposal to the floor of the House for debate this year," he said. "Everything from service cutbacks, layoffs, huge rate increases or a return to a taxpayer subsidy are on the table in the absence of reform."

The Direct Marketing Association also called on lawmakers to take up reform as soon as possible.

"We are concerned that many in Congress may view the Transformation Plan as a cure for what ails the postal service," DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen said in a statement. "The reality is that the plan, while ambitious, can only work on the margins of existing law without Congress' help."

Many elements -- labor rules, facility consolidation, delivery frequency, expansion into new markets and the development of a new, more business-like corporate structure - would require substantial involvement by Congress.

In general, though, the DMA responded with optimism to the details of the plan.

"We continue to be encouraged by the resolve of the postal service to take the necessary steps toward cost containment in the near term and we pledge our support for its efforts," Wientzen said.

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