Greeting card makers: House transportation plan 'misguided'

Thinkstock

Greeting card manufacturers are opposing the House’s proposal to use cuts at the U.S. Postal Service to help pay for a new transportation bill.

The Washington, D.C-based Greeting Card Association (GCA) said the Republican-led House's plan to use revenue from rolling back Saturday postal deliveries to pay for a short-term transportation bill was "misguided."

“Eliminating essential services like Saturday delivery in order to bail out the Highway Trust Fund is a misguided and infeasible tactic that should be dismissed out of hand,” GCA Vice President of Postal Affairs Rafe Morrissey said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT
“The Postal Service is already in serious financial duress and any consideration of measures that would deprive consumers and small businesses of critical services, while further sacrificing revenue and ceding mail volume to competitors, is irresponsible and unacceptable," he continued.

Republican leaders in the House said Friday that their plan to link postal cuts to transportation spending could provide about $14 billion to $15 billion, which they said would be enough to prevent a bankruptcy for the Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust Fund that has been projected to occur as early as August.

The traditional source of revenue for the Highway Trust Fund is the federal gas tax, which is currently priced at 18.4 cents-per-gallon. The gas tax has not been increased since 1993, and it currently only brings about $34 billion per year, however.

The Senate is pushing for a six-year transportation bill that would maintain the current level of annual funding, which is approximately $50 billion per year.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that lawmakers would have to find an extra $100 billion in addition to the gas tax money to approve a six-year transportation bill.

Morrissey said GOP leaders in the House should look somewhere other than the Post Office for the extra money, however.

"The Postal Service’s financial crisis deserves comprehensive and dedicated reform legislation, not piecemeal provisions on unrelated issues," he said. "Under no circumstances should Postal Service finances be allocated to non-postal expenditures."

Senate leaders have not yet identified how the upper chamber would pay for its transportation spending plan beyond the $204 billion that is expected to be brought in by the gas tax between now and 2020.