From eNAPUS Legislative & Political Bulletin
Although the U.S. Senate was able to approve a consensus measure to provide fiscal relief to the US Postal Service months ago, the House of Representatives dropped the ball and skipped town without considering postal relief legislation. Just as troubling is that the House Leadership seems to be confused about the definition of “default”, the implication of their inaction and the effect on their constituents.
The House of Representatives, in a dereliction of its obligation to sustain a constitutionally-established governmental service, bolted from the Capitol late Thursday, without addressing the essential needs of the nation’s universal mail service. Based upon an on-the-record conversation between House Majority Leaders Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), it appears that the House Majority will move a bill only when a postal-shutdown is near.
Last week, during a colloquy be-tween the two congressmen, Hoyer asked Cantor when a postal bill would be voted on, so House and Senate conferees could resolve any differences between a House bill and the already-Senate-passed bill (S. 1789).
Hoyer alluded to the narrowly-approved bill reported by the House Oversight and Govern-ment Reform Committee back in October 2011 (H.R. 2309). Finally, Hoyer opined that the USPS is “facing default” in its obligations unless legislation is enacted. (The USPS defaulted on a $5.6 billion retiree health pre-funding payment on August 1.) Cantor responded to Hoyer in three ways: First, he claimed that S. 1789 does not have the support of the majority of the House (i.e., the Republicans). Second, Cantor stated that the GOP Leadership is continuing to work with Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to assure that “there is not an incidence of default.” Finally, Cantor asserted that “the USPS has indicated that there is no risk of default in the short-term.”
In sum, the future of the USPS may be held hostage to legislative demands that could destroy its foundation and eviscerate the communities and customers it serves.