Five months ago, the Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive bill – the 21st Century Postal Service Act – to prevent these historic defaults by right-sizing, modernizing, and reforming the Postal Service. It wasn’t easy, and the Senate bill isn’t perfect, but most Senators recognized that we have to act now to save such a critical part of our economy and a key engine of our ongoing recovery. The bill passed by a vote of 62 to 37.
In contrast, Republicans pushed through the House Oversight Committee their version of a postal reform bill on a strictly party-line vote nearly one year ago. House action stopped there, however, and the bill has languished ever since. Despite claims that they have enough votes to pass their bill, Republican leaders have refused to bring it to the House floor for a vote, forcing the Postal Service to default for the first time in its history.
This inaction has prevented progress on a solution to address the Postal Service’s challenges, it has eroded confidence in the Postal Service’s future, and it has impaired the ability of Congress to implement reforms. That shouldn’t happen, and it doesn’t need to happen.
Unfortunately, House Republican leaders have decided to delay any further consideration of postal reform legislation until after the November elections. Every day the House fails to consider a bill, the challenges facing the Postal Service grow more difficult and more expensive to resolve. Simply put, continuing to ignore the Postal Service’s woes is fiscally irresponsible.
We still hope that Republican House leaders will step up and do their part to help fix the serious, but solvable, financial challenges facing the Postal Service. We’re ready to bring our ideas to the table and work out our differences in a conference committee.
Members of Congress from both parties believe we can and should come together and do the right, responsible thing. We urge House leaders to do so quickly so we can preserve the Postal Service for future generations.
Carper is a co-author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act and a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Cummings is the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.