Carper seeks momentum for postal reform

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperIt’s time for Congress to actually fix the individual health insurance market Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill Trump riles Dems with pick for powerful EPA job 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 Coburn-trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Al Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit 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 HeitkampJustice Dept investigating Equifax stock sales: report Dem senator: Trump 'very serious' about infrastructure Trump steps up courtship of Dems MORE (D-N.D.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterFive things to know about Sanders’s single-payer plan Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill Overnight Regulation: DeVos ignites backlash with rewrite of campus sexual assault policy l EPA power plant rule decision likely this fall | Panel approves Trump financial regulator nominees 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.