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Postal Service Default Alarms Sen. Tom Carper

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Sen. Tom Carper has criticized the House’s decision not to take up Postal Service legislation before the August recess.

Carper has tweeted, given speeches and issued a steady diet of news releases to get people to pay attention to the service’s plight and to push the House, which has not passed an overhaul bill, into action. Carper said in an interview Monday he has talked with House leaders trying to convince them to bring a bill to the floor.

“Let’s just go to conference,” Carper said. “That’s the way we’re going to pass this bill.”

Carper called the House’s decision not to take up its version of the bill before the August recess “baffling.” He said that any measure that could lead to a conference committee would be acceptable at this point, even a partisan GOP bill that passes with only Republican votes.

The House legislation, sponsored by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), would force more cuts at the Postal Service through a commission that would determine facility shutdowns. It would be similar to the unpopular, but successful, Base Realignment and Closure process used to pick military installations for shutdown.

That approach might prove necessary because few Members would ever want responsibility for closing down hometown post offices. Similarly, the issue of eliminating Saturday delivery has been thorny for Congress.

Asked about the matter Monday, a senior House GOP aide pointed to criticism of the Senate plan by the Postal Service’s board of governors. The governors say that the Senate-passed bill has no chance of providing for the amount of change that will be required to bring post offices back onto secure financial footing.

“Given volume losses we have experienced over the past five years along with expected future trends, it is totally inappropriate in these economic times to keep unneeded facilities open,” the governors said in their April statement. “There is simply not enough mail in our system today. It is also inappropriate to delay the implementation of five-day delivery when the vast majority of the American people support this change. Failure to act on these changes will ensure that the Postal Service’s losses will continue to mount.”

Asked Monday about that critique, Carper said he knew the Senate bill would not cure all of the Postal Service’s ills but criticized the House Republicans for having the nerve to “carp” about the Senate measure without passing an alternative.

“Give me a break,” Carper said.

 

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