Congressional lawmakers return to Washington today from a two-week recess. Nearly right off the bat, there is a strong possibility that postal legislation will come up for action on the Senate floor as early as Tuesday. This will occur after the Senate completes a procedural vote on a separate tax measure later today.
The Senate agenda remains fluid and can change at a moment’s notice. Nonetheless, after the tax legislation receives a cloture vote on a “motion to proceed” (and likely fails), the Senate could turn to a new substitute version of S. 1789, the Senate postal reform bill.
Procedurally, Senate action on postal legislation would begin with a cloture vote on a “motion to proceed” as well. Sixty votes are required to proceed, so a bipartisan bill that attracts Democratic and Republican support will be necessary to move ahead. (There are 53 Senators aligned with the Democrats and 47 with the Republicans in the Senate.) Senate Democratic Leader Reid is unlikely to bring any postal bill to the floor until he is assured of the necessary 60 votes, especially given the failed cloture vote on the postal measure that occurred three weeks ago in the Senate.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrat and Republican leaders on the Senate postal oversight committee (Senators Lieberman, Carper, Collins and Brown) are continuing to craft the terms of a new version of S. 1789, with added provisions that would preserve current first class 1-3 day mail service standards, moderate plant and post office closures, and create greater business model flexibility.
Bruce Moyer Legislative Counsel to NAPS