Issa: House 'close' on postal bill

A spokesman for Issa declined to give further information about when a bill might be released.

Issa’s comments came at a hearing where he blamed Donahoe for not taking advantage of all the cost-cutting tools at his disposal, with the postmaster general firing back at Congress for failing to get a postal bill done for the last two years.

But both Issa and Donahoe also had more conciliatory words for the other.

Donahoe told reporters that he was “very encouraged” by the hearing, and that Issa and Cummings are “very serious about moving ahead.”

“I’m optimistic. We need to get moving on this,” Donahoe added.

During the hearing, Issa told Donahoe that he was sympathetic to the postmaster general’s attempts to shore up the finances of an agency that lost close to $16 billion the last fiscal year.

“I know you have a tough job,” Issa said. “I’ve been a CEO.”

More than two-thirds of USPS’s 2012 losses stemmed from defaults on required prepayments for future retiree healthcare. Issa said Wednesday that negotiators in the two chambers last year had agreed to lower the price tag of that prefunding requirement.

Lawmakers will also likely have to deal with USPS’s delivery schedule, after the Postal Service dropped a plan to deliver packages six days a week while dropping Saturday delivery of first-class mail.