What are the prospects for the U.S. Postal service now that the Republicans have taken over Congress?
Will both houses try to bull ahead on the full-scale privatization that Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) has been championing for years?
Or will it more likely to turn its attention to higher profile issues like dismantling Social Security and Medicare while leaving the USPS twisting in the wind as it has for years?
Or maybe they have their fangs out for the USPS, too. It’s probably too early to tell right now
Already there is talk of Congress trying to hash out some sort of half-measure during the lame duck session before January, according to the Hill http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/222731-labor-biz-united-behind-postal-reform-push-in-the.
Mailing industry groups and unions are reportedly working on modest reform proposals that would steer clear of such contentious issues as ending Saturday delivery and dropping mail at central locations rather than front doors.
But nobody thinks this idea has a snowball’s-chance-in-hell of passing despite backing of banks, catalogers and other large industries dependent on the mails.
Yes, it’s true the last postal reform bill was hammered out during the lame duck session in 2006. But that came about only after both the House and Senate had each offered substantive bills of their own that had been worked on as far back as 1995.
Today’s political landscape is completely different.
And why should the current Congress take on postal reform while the GOP is licking its chops over its election victory and may think it’ll get a more favorable postal reform deal after January?
Meanwhile the USPS is continuing its underhanded game of gradually reducing services and selling off real estate which it would probably do irrespective of which political party is in power.
A centerpiece of this strategy is the closure of post offices and distribution center closures slated for early next year despite calls from some members of Congress including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and now-Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The USPS shutterings are going forward in many locations including Kalamazoo County, MI, according to the Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/4/postal-service-processing-consolidation-to-restart/.
A more pernicious aspect of this plan is the selloff of post offices to private real estate developers as is happening in Berkeley. CA. There, the USPS has either sold the main downtown post office or has reached an understanding with a potential purchaser despite strong local protests, says Berkeleyside.com. The website notes the city plans to file litigation to block the sale http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/10/24/berkeley-city-attorney-main-post-office-has-been-sold/.
If this sort of thing keeps up soon we’ll have no postal infrastructure left. Is that what the GOP really wants?