Greeting card industry releases postal reform plan

The study from the greeting card industry comes as postal officials continue to press Congress for action, even as the issue struggles to become a central issue on Capitol Hill.

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House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has reached out to colleagues with a new discussion draft that softens some of his previous stances on shoring up USPS, which lost close to $16 billion in fiscal 2012 – more than two-thirds of that from the defaults on the prepayments.

In the Senate, Homeland Security Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) is also hopeful of reaching a bipartisan agreement.

But the greeting card industry’s new paper also underscores some of the challenges of postal reform. Both Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and Issa backed a plan that kept only Saturday delivery of packages, which USPS only backed down from under pressure from Congress.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and postal officials have expressed an interest in at least restructuring the retiree prepayment. Some Democrats and unions have also expressed skepticism about clusterboxes, and are pushing for to give USPS access to more revenue streams.

The greeting card industry’s paper also includes dozens of other potential provisions that they say could also aid USPS’s bottom line.

But White also conceded that there were still more than a few hurdles for postal reform, even as he stressed that he thought that USPS’s financial projections were a bit too gloomy. (Donahoe has said the agency will face a $20 billion funding gap by 2017.)

“We try to remain as optimistic as we can that the issue will be addressed,” White said. But, he added, members of Congress “don’t really focus on an issue until it becomes hot.”

“That’s why we’re releasing the report,” he said.