Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) praised the postal reform legislation that successfully passed out of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform today on a 22-19 vote. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee, and Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL) introduced H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act. This legislation provides a top-to-bottom restructuring to improve the business model of the United States Postal Service (USPS) with costing cutting measures and improved practices to return the Postal Service to financial solvency.
With declining mail volumes, rising debt and outdated operations, the Postal Service is in dire need of reform. Congressman Lankford recognizes that the status quo can no longer be an option for the USPS.
"The challenges facing the Postal Service are daunting and require a compete rethinking of how the current system operates," said Congressman Lankford. "The Postal Service lost $10 billion last year and mail volume is down 20% since 2006. Post offices are the center of the community for millions of Americans, especially in rural areas, and we must ensure the Postal Service remains solvent. Committing to real reform will finally bring long-term stability to the post office and the hard-working postal staff. Thousands of postal employees have served our families for years, and they are worthy of our gratitude."
Congressman Lankford offered two amendments that were adopted by voice vote. The first amendment would allow the Postal Service to defer $4.5 billion of USPS's scheduled $5.5 billion payment to prefund retiree health benefits for Fiscal Year 2011.This amendment brings USPS's requirement in line with their current capabilities and allow USPS to defer the rest of this year's payments until Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016, when these underlying reforms have had a chance to take effect.
The second amendment would extend appeal rights currently offered to large post offices pending closure to smaller post office branches and stations.
"These two amendments improve an already strong bill," continued Congressman Lankford. "Postponing health insurance contributions for four years will give the Postal Service more time and flexibility to implement reforms and ease the pressure of finding quick fixes that will only hurt current employees. Additionally, allowing rural postal branches and stations the same appeals process will ensure each community's voice is heard during the streamlining of branch locations."
"Americans deserve to have an efficient and effective mail delivering service without committing taxpayer dollars to another bailout. I support the Postal Reform Act to return the Postal Service to full financial solvency and ensure our citizens can count on this vital institution in the future," Congressman Lankford concluded.