Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-OK) will convene a hearing of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee next Thursday to hear comment on the Postal Reform Act (PRA) they introduced in August. Jerry Cerasale, SVP of government affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, will give testimony on behalf of concerned associations. At least one mail industry executive is expected to testify, as well.
The hearing comes as mailers work with postal employee unions to find common ground on reform before the end of the month, when thepostal Board of Governors have promised to take up the issue of an exigent rate increase at their meeting in Kansas City. The Board has made it plain that passage of postal reform in Congress would be the best remedy for a potential rate hike.
One of the proposals in the Carper-Coburn bill figures to be at the center of talks between labor and industry: a two-year moratorium on plant and retail office closings aimed at saving union jobs. The bill would also let the rate cap pegged to the Consumer Price Index expire in 2016, at which time U.S. Postal Service would be able to set its own rates.
Apparently, this will not be the last hearing the Senate committee will hold on the subject, as it is titled “Part 1: Maintaining Services, Reducing Costs and Increasing Revenue Through Innovation and Modernization.” Interested parties may look in on the hearing via this link, or by looking for it on http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/. Opening gavel is at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 19.