Carper seeks momentum for postal reform

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Pruitt to testify on EPA agenda at House, Senate hearings Senate confirms top air regulator at EPA 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 CoburnTom CoburnFormer GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder Lobbying World -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground 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 HeitkampDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Overnight Finance: House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP | Senate confirms banking regulator | Mulvaney eyed for interim head of consumer agency Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog MORE (D-N.D.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterAnother perfect storm: Why we must act before flood insurance runs dry Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  GOP campaign committees call on Democrats to return Franken donations 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.