Postal reform bill hits Senate snag
A House-passed bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service ran into a speedbump in the Senate on Monday, likely delaying the bill until next month.
The Senate had been scheduled to hold an initial vote on the House bill on Monday.
But Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, blocked an attempt by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to make a technical fix to the legislation after a clerk initially sent over the wrong version of bill last week before the House corrected the error by unanimous consent on Friday.
Because Schumer had already teed up an initial vote on the bill with incorrect text, he needed unanimous consent to fix the legislation. That allowed any one senator to block him.
“Unfortunately there are pieces of this bill that blocks the opportunity for us to achieve our shared goal of responsibly reforming the Postal Service. … I want the Senate to have the opportunity to work on this and improve it and deliver a bill that works,” Scott said, noting that he supported some provisions in the bill.
“We can’t afford to add stress on our already enormous national debt with poor financial planning, which I think this bill absolutely does,” Scott added.
Schumer then pulled the vote. Democrats started the process on Monday of putting the corrected legislation on the Senate calendar, which will let Schumer tee it up for a vote.
Schumer accused Scott of holding up the bill over a “technical detail.”
“It’s the same bill that was on the floor Thursday where we had an agreement to move on it tonight, but the House sent us a bill with a technical change and five times in the past year this has happened and each time no senator had the temerity to get up and block it on a technical issue,” Schumer said.
“Even though this will delay the bill, we will pass it. We will have to just go through this elaborate process the old-fashioned and often discredited rules of the Senate that the senator from Florida’s employing. We’ll have to use them, but will pass this bill,” Schumer added.
But the Senate is poised to leave town by Friday for a one-week break. Before that, they also have nominations on the schedule as well as passing a short-term government funding bill, meaning the postal legislation is expected to have to wait until they return to Washington on Feb. 28.
The bill, which passed the House last week, would overhaul the Postal Service.
It eliminates a requirement that the Postal Service prepay future retirement health benefits and allows the Postal Service to provide non-postal services as part of an agreement with state and local governments. It also requires that the Postal Service make deliveries six days of the week.
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