Reform is usually easier said than done in Washington. Furthermore, reform is usually healthier when legislators have time to think about a problem before it escalates, as opposed to making a knee-jerk reaction to an imploding problem, such as a collapse of the United States Postal Service (USPS).
The importance of good reform is something we know Speaker Paul Ryan values. That is why it is critical for the Speaker to support H.R. 756, The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, and bring it to the House floor for a vote before Congress adjourns for the holidays. The support of the Speaker would greatly help this meaningful and bipartisan reform pass with even wider support. Plus, it would be a huge (and easier) win for the Speaker during a challenging session of Congress.
Companies and trade associations in Wisconsin, and across the country, support this legislation because they recognize how crucial the Postal Service is to business and our economy. The mailing industry alone employs 7.5 million Americans – six percent of the nation’s jobs – and has $1.4 trillion in sales revenue. If the Postal Service is allowed to continue to falter, these business and jobs will be threatened, and our economy will experience a negative impact.
Candidly, USPS is on the brink of financial collapse. Last year, USPS reported a net loss of $5.3 billion, making it the tenth year in a row of net losses. USPS has more than $119 billion in unfunded liability, is projected to run out of cash, and its delivery fleet is nearing the end of its lifespan.
The operational deficit USPS is predicted to run in future years is flat-out irresponsible. If Congress does not act now on H.R. 756, a poorly-developed, rushed, and expensive taxpayer bailout will likely become the outcome. It should not be left to taxpayers to bail out USPS.
In contrast to a bailout, H.R. 756, would put USPS on more sustainable long-term financial footing. In short, the legislation cuts costs, streamlines and secures mail delivery, strengthens accountability, and improves oversight. Additionally, it guarantees pension liability (which is critical considering USPS currently holds a $21.3 billion pension funding shortfall), improves employee health care, focuses on local service opportunities, and supports rural postal service access — something we need in Wisconsin’s first Congressional District.
At a time when it seems like no one agrees on anything in Washington, this legislation holds bipartisan support in Congress. Additionally, all four of the major postal employee unions support H.R. 756 because they understand the legislation would make USPS more efficient without costing taxpayers more money.
No legislation is ever perfect, but with a bipartisan group of legislators, postal unions, and businesses supporting this bill, H.R. 756 is a great compromise – and it is much better than any potential quick-fix band-aid Congress would try to apply when USPS does run out of operating money.
The passage of H.R. 756 on the House floor would be a wonderful win for the Speaker and a great gift for everyone before Congress adjourns for the holidays. After all, how terrible would it be if our holiday cards and packages were not delivered on time, or at all, next year?
I hope Speaker Ryan will do all he can to ensure this legislation’s quick success.
Nancy Mulholland is the Vice Chairman of the Racine County Republican Party.