Washington Post: Postal Reform Is Job One

Sen. Ron Johnson, who is expected to chair postal oversight committee in new Congress.

As Republicans prepare to take over both houses of Congress, talk is rife over what bills will be prioritized for passing in the lame duck session. The Keystone pipeline, tax reform, trade agreements, and immigration are often mentioned. Few players in Washington mention the postal reform bills that languish in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

But the Washington Post inserted postal reform into the conversation yesterday with an editorial that urged legislators to pay some mind to the “workhorse agency” that touches the daily lives of all citizens. “Of all the tasks confronting the newly elected Congress, none is more basic, in terms of plain old democratic governance, than reforming the U.S. Postal Service,” read the admonition authored by the Post‘s editorial board.

The paper said that significant bipartisan effort had gone into crafting both bills. It lauded the Carper-Coburn proposal in the Senate for relieving USPS from its suffocating payments for retiree healthcare benefits and its elimination of Saturday delivery. And it praised Rep. Darrell Issa’s House bill for requiring that retirees be shifted into Medicare.

The Post concluded that interest-group politics, not partisan politics, were at issue in stalling reform. “Postal unions, rural states, large-scale commercial mailers, and others that depend on the dysfunctional status quo lobby furiously to protect it, or at least those parts of it that favor their particular interests,” the editorial argued.

“Financial relief in exchange for structural reform,” said the piece, has enough support of key players on both sides of the aisle to pass postal reform in the lame duck. It noted that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)—who has said he’d like to see the Post Office go through bankruptcy proceedings—is poised to take over from Tom Carper as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that oversees postal issues.

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