With all the dysfunction in Washington, DC now with President Donald Trump sparring with Congress over high profile issues like building a border wall with Mexico and passing new tax reform it’ll be a wonder if Congress can even get to considering postal reform.
But in its proposed budget, the House is trying to reduce the number of postal employees, cut their benefits and change their employment status to that of most federal workers making it easier for the government to terminate postal workers—especially in a government shutdown, according to the American Postal Workers Union http://www.apwu.org/news/web-news-article/let-you-member-congress-know-how-you-really-feel-about-2018-budget.
For many years, the USPS has operated without receiving a dime of taxpayer money and has supported itself totally through sales of stamps and other products. All postal service’s employees are paid from this separate budget.
It’s not clear if the postal service can hold onto its separate status in the current political climate. While President Trump so far hasn’t been able to achieve many of his high profile legislative goals such as repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) many more destructive things are possible in less noticed areas and there’s no telling what a conservative all-Republican Congress might do on its own.
Case in point: There have always been people such as Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), former Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee who’ve shown fierce hostility to postal workers and unions. Although Issa is no longer in a position to influence this issue directly, other like-minded members of Congress may see a chance to move in this direction.
Meanwhile, the Postal Service remains in precarious financial shape, thanks almost entirely to a provision in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act which required the USPS to fork over more than $5.8 billion per year to the U.S. Treasury Dept. to pre-fund healthcare expenses for future retirees until well into the next century.
For the quarter ended June 30, the postal service reported a net loss of $2.1 billion, an increase in net loss of $573 million, compared to the same quarter last year http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_043.htm.
This is all happening the USPS’s largely artificial financial problems aren’t going away anytime soon and the agency continues to shed jobs, post offices and dilute its relevance\
In Richmond, VA, Cheyenne, WY and Kilbourne, DE, the USPS has kept up its relentless shuttering of post offices despite local resistance and historical value of their buildings. Still, USPS management remains largely unmoved.
One possible saving grace here is that Congress may do nothing on postal legislation because of all the energy that’s being exhausted on nearly unattainable things like a border wall with Mexico.