Left in the Lurch, Carper Pleads the Next Congress for Postal Reform

Tom Carper (D-DE) made a valiant post-election effort to convince his Senate colleagues to pass postal reform during the lame duck session, but the issue never got a hearing. Now, with the Senate about to pass into Republican hands and Carper’s chairmanship of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) at an end, the postal affairs veteran is urging the soon-to-be-convened 114th Congress to settle the postal issue quickly.

“[U.S. Postal Service] leadership can only do so much without new authorities from Congress, and without hurting service quality,” Carper wrote in a statement released today. “Congress needs to free the Postal Service of its financial and legislation constraints and give it the opportunity to modernize and grow through innovation.”

Carper laments that Congress has left postal stakeholders in the lurch about what awaits them in the near future. “Unfortunately,” he wrote, “the Senate made that uncertainty even worse with our failure to reconsider the nominees for the Postal Board of Governors.”

Five nominees to the board still await Senate approval, leaving the body without a quorum and the Postal Service without a governing body to approve important decisions and actions. That situation forced the remaining governors to band together as a Temporary Emergency Committee last week.

Observers of the postal scene in Washington agree that it’s anyone’s guess when the reform mantle will be taken up again. With Rep. Darrell Issa’s term as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee (HSGAC) expiring, his draft of a Postal Reform Bill will no doubt face the same renewed scrutiny as Carper’s. Sources in Washington tell Direct Marketing News they would be surprised if Postal Reform receives much interest from Congress in 2015.

Front runners for the chairmanship of HSGAC are Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Collins does not currently sit on the committee, but with another committee assignment expiring, she is rumored to be interested in the job. Collins was an author of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act as chairman of HSGAC in 2006.

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