(July 6) — Next week, the fight to save Saturday delivery will take center stage in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to take up H.R. 6020, the annual Financial Services and General Government appropriation bill. Although the bill does not appropriate any taxpayer money for the U.S. Postal Service, its passage is important to the future viability of the USPS since it includes a provision mandating the continuation of six-day delivery service — just as it has every year since 1984.
The National Association of Letter Carriers reports that House Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) may seek to strip the provision from the bill next week when the House begins debate on the legislation by raising a parliamentary point of order arguing that the six-day mandate violates House rules that bars Congress from legislating on an appropriations bill. Issa sent a letter to Rules Committee Chairman David Drier in June requesting an “open rule” for the debate on H.R. 6020 so that he can raise the point of order, which Drier granted.
Six-day delivery service has broad bipartisan support in the House, as demonstrated by the 222 co-sponsors of H. Res 137, which calls for six-day delivery service to be preserved. Nevertheless, Issa is using the financial crisis caused by the 2006 mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits as an excuse to massively downsize the USPS. If he is successful in stripping the six-day delivery service provision from H.R. 6020, some 25,000 city letter carrier jobs and 80,000 USPS jobs could be threatened. Such a service cut would do more harm than good as more mailers would abandon the USPS as the value of mail declined.
TAKE A STAND — Call your U.S. Representative and urge them to preserve six-day delivery and to oppose Rep. Issa’s attempt to strip the provision that guarantees it from H.H. 6020.
A Senate appropriations bill, which serves as a counterpart to H.R. 6020, contains the six-day provision and has been passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. A vote of the full Senate on this measure is still pending. Once both houses of Congress have acted, a conference committee would need to reconcile differences between the bills.