Issa reaches out to Democrats on postal reform

Some Democrats working on postal reform initially cast a skeptical note on Issa’s discussion draft, with the ranking member at Oversight, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), saying he had “serious reservations.” But both Cummings and Sen. Tom CarperTom CarperGovernors-turned-senators meet to talk healthcare Overnight Healthcare: GOP'S repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate Dem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes MORE (D-Del.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security panel, also applauded Issa for moving the ball forward on postal reform.

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Issa, Carper and Cummings all took part in bipartisan negotiations on postal reform that fell short at the end of the last Congress. The USPS has lost billions of dollars in recent years, including roughly $3 billion in the first six months of fiscal 2013.

Issa’s postal bill passed the Oversight Committee last Congress, but then never hit the House floor – at least in part because GOP leaders saw it as a tough vote politically.

The California Republican’s newest effort rolls back some of the more controversial proposals from his previous bill, including provisions that could have led to the agency being placed in receivership and formed a new commission to recommend post office closures.

It also scraps the annual prepayments, of around $5.5 billion, for future retiree healthcare, a requirement that unions and Democrats have particularly gotten worked up about.

But the plan would also do away with Saturday letter delivery while keeping package delivery, a growing part of the USPS’s business. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe tried to implement a similar plan this year before backing off amid congressional opposition.

Democrats and unions have said that cutting any service would be a mistake. Issa’s new discussion draft also keeps a proposal that scraps future no-layoff agreements.