The National League of Postmasters is continuing to monitor the deal making and political maneuvering of all sorts continued over the weekend. The postal bill and amendments are scheduled to go to a vote tomorrow, Tuesday around 2:15 p.m., although that time could easily change. It will be cablecast on CSPAN 2. I would not be surprised to see some postal speeches on the floor today, although the votes will be tomorrow.
At this point, the number of amendments have decreased to 39 and rewriting is ongoing in order to make amendments more palatable to a broader group. Indeed, several amendments might be combined and offered up by unanimous consent. We also we expect some senators to back off of some of the other amendments. Don’t be surprised, then, when Tuesday rolls around, to see a narrower field of amendments.
The sentiment for protecting rural post offices remains strong and I would expect an even further improvement in some amendments.
Sen. John McCain continues to insist that he will offer his version of the Rep. Darrell Issa bill as an amendment in the nature of a substitute, and it should be first up. Should that amendment pass and thus should the Senate bill become like the Issa bill, the Postal Service would be finished. We have asked key Postmasters to weigh in with some targeted senators on this issues.
Understand that the approach behind the Issa bill and the McCain amendment is not predicated upon the possibility of a healthy, vigorous postal system thriving into the 21st Century, serving the postal industries as we know it. Rather, it assumes that volume will continue to plummet and that there is no need to have a broad national network capable of sustaining (at reasonable rates) the type of volumes we need in order to support a healthy advertising industry, and a broad delivery network for internet purchases.
That approach bought the Postal Service’s line that it spun to Congress that the precipitous volume drop of the last several years was not due to the recession but due to electronic diversion (a point of view that is completely inconsistent with what the Postal Service has told the Postal Regulatory Commission). That approach also assumes that volume drops will continue, one after another, until most of the volume disappears and that only a small residual postal system is necessary. That is exactly the mentality of many of the Hill staff that pushes this position. Not only is the approach simply wrong, but it lacks a fundamental understanding of the mailing industry.