Senate on the Verge of yet another Attack on the Postal System

Thursday, December 04, 2014
Mickey Barnett (photo: USPS)

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which was already hamstrung by Congress’ mandate that it prefund future retirees’ health benefits and prohibition from closing some post offices, might soon have another roadblock in its way. This time, it would come from legislative inaction.


The Senate is dragging its feet on confirming members of the USPS Board of Governors, which could mean that the agency will be unable to make any major decisions.


The board is supposed to have 11 members, including Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman. Right now, it has only six and the renomination of board chair Mickey Barnett is stuck in Senate gridlock, along with the nominations of Democrats Vicki Kennedy, David Bennett and Stephen Crawford and Republican James Miller. Barnett will go off the board December 8 unless his renomination is confirmed, and the board will lack a quorum to do business. All five of the nominees have been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.


“We continue to be very concerned about the possibility of the lack of a quorum on the Board of Governors and urge the full Senate to take up the nominations,” USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer, said, according to Government Executive.


The USPS has continued to run billion-dollar deficits, even after it managed to increase revenues. Fiscal year 2014 produced $5.5 billion in losses despite a 9% increase in its shipping-and-packaging business, according to The Washington Post.

- Steve Straehley, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Congress Could Soon Deliver the Postal Service Its Biggest Blow Yet (by Eric Katz, Government Executive)

Postal Service Lost $5.5 Billion In 2014 Despite More Gains In Operating Revenue (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

How to Help the Struggling Post Office and the Poor: Turn USPS into a Bank…Again (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Congress Struggles to Deliver Solution to Postal Problem It Created (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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