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Carper seeks momentum for postal reform

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Regulation: EPA sued over water rule delay | House passes bill to ease ObamaCare calorie rule | Regulators talk bitcoin | Patient groups oppose FDA 'right to try' bill Dem senator questions EPA on stark decline in grant awards Green group backs Sens. Baldwin, Nelson for reelection MORE (D-Del.) on Monday latched on to a new federal report to try to spark momentum for a deal to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service after next week’s elections.

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The report, from the Government Accountability Office, confirmed what lawmakers generally already knew – that recent cost-cutting moves by the Postal Service have slowed down mail delivery.

Carper, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has crafted a postal reform measure with Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (Okla.), the panel’s top Republican. In a Monday statement, he urged his colleagues in both parties and on both sides of the Capitol to act to help USPS before the end of the year.

“These budget cuts, service changes and facility consolidations and closures have a real impact on communities across the country,” Carper said. “But, in the absence of reform, the Postal Service will be forced to continue these painful measures and others in order to keep the lights on. To create a service that Americans can rely on – a robust institution to serve generations to come - Congress must take action.”

Carper requested the GAO report with Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHouse passes bill to ease menu labeling rules under ObamaCare In 2018, Trump must be the small-business champion he claimed to be GOP goes on offense with 20-week abortion vote MORE (D-N.D.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrat Manchin: Pence attacks prove ‘they don't want bipartisanship’ in Trump admin Tester invited the Border Patrol Union’s president to the State of the Union. What does that say to Dreamers?   These Democrats will have a hard time keeping their seats in 2018 MORE (D-Mont.), both of whom represent rural states and have expressed concerns about the slower delivery times.  

But while Carper is still pushing for postal reform action, other top lawmakers working on the issue have been more pessimistic that progress can be made this year. The bill from Carper and Coburn has also gotten a cool reaction from some key advocates for the Postal Service, including labor and businesses that frequently use the mail. 

USPS has reduced its losses in recent years, after bleeding a record $15.9 billion in fiscal 2012.