Excerpt From: The Hill. Written By: Sylvan Lane.
One of Congress’s most contentious committees is pushing toward a rare bipartisan victory: reforming the United States Postal Service.
Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee praised each other during a Tuesday hearing for closing in on a bill to streamline USPS services and salvage its debt-riddled employee benefit plans.
It’s a remarkable shift in tone for a panel that erupted in shouting over Russian hacking last week during a routine meeting.
The USPS lost a net $5.3 billion in fiscal 2016, it’s tenth straight year of losses, and faces $120 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to federal data. That includes a $21.3 billion budget shortfall.
The Postal Service Reform Act, introduced last week by committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), would shift USPS employee healthcare coverage to pre-existing federal programs. It would also boost postal rates, centralize mail delivery, host some government services at post offices, revamp USPS’s board of governors and end state and federal political committees’ free-postage benefit.
“In an era of partisan politics, this bill represents a true bipartisan compromise,” said Chaffetz, who promised moments after President Trump’s inauguration to continue investigating Hillary Clinton.
Cummings said the bill should be considered by the full House “as soon as possible,” and urged support for it.
“I know there are people in this audience who said, ‘I wished for this, I wished for that,’” said Cummings. “Just wish that the bill goes through.”
Lawmakers from both parties say that the bill could protect USPS from a future government bailout down the road. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), said USPS could need up to $150 billion in taxpayer funds without major reforms, according to his calculations.
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