Last week Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, took a break from his IRS “scandal” long enough to dust off a piece of failed 2011 legislation and reintroduce it as a “discussion draft.” Presumably, you and I are supposed to discuss this with our representatives in Washington, letting them know what we think of it.
Granted, we let them know what we thought of it back during the last congressional session, but now a new session is in full swing and legislation that failed to get any traction last term could very well resurface this term under the guise of being something new and improved.
Issa’s discussion draft for “saving” the Postal Service is neither new or improved. The most significant newness of the document is the date affixed to it. The old bill was The Postal Reform Act of 2011. This is The Postal Reform Act of 2013. How popular was this bill back in 2011-2012? It had one co-sponsor, fellow Republican Dennis Ross of Florida. That was it. One.
Now despite the fact that Issa seems to be in over his head investigating the IRS scandal and attempting to tie it to the White House and President Obama, he has found time to redouble his assault on the Postal Service.
This is an opportune time for those who want to privatize the Postal Service to introduce legislation that would drastically alter the makeup and the function of the postal service as we now know it. Any resemblance between today’s postal service and Darell Issa’s postal service will be purely coincidental.
Make no mistake about it, Issa’s claims at wanting to save the Postal Service will involve it having to undergo a forced metamorphosis. Whereas in nature a ugly caterpillar is transformed into a beautiful butterfly, the metamorphosis of the Postal Service envisioned by Rep. Issa would do just the opposite, turning the butterfly into a for-profit, reduced-service caterpillar.
Among a host of destructive measures would be the immediate elimination of Saturday mail delivery. Your carrier will deliver packages on Saturday, but no letter mail. Door deliveries would also be moved to the curb and to centralized cluster boxes. Some areas of the country are reportedly already doing this. His plan for “improving” the Postal Service would include such austerity measures as closing more post offices and consolidating more processing plants. Mail that now reaches you a day or two after its mailing, would reach you three, four or five days after mailing.
Rep. Issa says this all would result in the Postal Service saving $2 billion annually. Actually, that’s not his calculation, that’s one of the talking points put out by the Postal Service. That figure is skewed to support the Postal Service’s agenda. For one thing, the estimate doesn’t take into account the number of people who will no longer use the Postal Service but instead will use private companies to deliver their mail and packages.
And nowhere in the discussion draft does Issa suggest that the U.S. Treasury hand over the billions of excess dollars it now has, money that will pre-fund retirees health benefits over 10 years for the next 75. Giving that money to USPS would be the simplest solution to the current financial problems being faced by the Postal Service.
The real solution to the dilemma has been incorporated into two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, The Postal Service Protection Act. These are bills S. 316 and H.R. 630. Unlike Issa’s proposed bill, these two would actually reform the Postal Service in a positive way, a way in which it would be preserved for generations to come.
You are encouraged to contact your congressional representative and ask them to discard Rep. Issa’s “discussion draft” for two bills that are already being discussed in Congress.