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Postal News Roundup

Government Executive: There May Finally Be a Breakthrough in the Fight for Postal Reform
“The four major unions representing U.S. Postal Service employees have all thrown their support behind a renewed effort to overhaul the agency, providing what supporters are calling a “watershed event” in the drawn-out battle for reform. Lawmakers expressed broad bipartisan support for the 2017 Postal Reform Act at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Tuesday, saying the time has long since passed for Congress to act on USPS’ behalf. Republicans on the committee and witnesses at the hearing said reform is urgent, arguing that doing nothing would result in a taxpayer-funded bailout of the mailing agency. Lawmakers have struggled in each of the last several sessions of Congress to bring together the array of different interests in USPS affairs, but appeared to reach a breakthrough with their latest efforts. Unlike previous attempts at postal reform, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union all threw their support behind the bill. Art Sackler, head of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service -- a group representing dozens of private sector businesses in mailing and other industries -- also announced his association’s full backing. Postmaster General Megan Brennan said her agency supported the bill as well…”

The Hill: House panel hones in on postal service reform
“One of Congress’s most contentious committees is pushing toward a rare bipartisan victory: reforming the United States Postal Service. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee praised each other during a Tuesday hearing for closing in on a bill to streamline USPS services and salvage its debt-riddled employee benefit plans. It’s a remarkable shift in tone for a panel that erupted in shouting over Russian hacking last week during a routine meeting. The USPS lost a net $5.3 billion in fiscal 2016, its tenth straight year of losses, and faces $120 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to federal data. That includes a $21.3 billion budget shortfall…” 

Washington Post: House panel displays bipartisan unity over bill to save Postal Service from financial ruin
“There have been days when 2157 Rayburn House Office Building had the feel of a boxing match. It’s the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee room where Republicans and Democrats have been known to go at each other with vehemence. That wasn’t the case Tuesday. Members on each side of the dais went out of their way to praise representatives from both parties for work on legislation designed to save the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from financial ruin. For more years than can be easily remembered, the Postal Service has pleaded with Congress for help with its financial situation. Members of Congress, along with postal unions and other interested folks, agreed that the financial picture was bleak, but consensus on getting out of the hole seemed beyond reach…”

Washington Post: Postal Service finances ‘very serious but solvable’ as bipartisan action develops
“The umpteenth time might be the charm. For almost more years than can be remembered, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has pleaded with Congress for help with its seemingly futile financial situation. Politicians from both parties, along with postal unions and other interested folks, agreed that the USPS financial picture was bleak, but consensus on getting out of the hole seemed beyond reach. Now, with bipartisan legislation being considered in the infamously partisan House, hopeless no longer describes the Postal Service’s future. It’s not fixed yet, but the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 provides a degree of optimism that for many years was absent…”

Government Executive: Trump Administration Reportedly Considering Federal Union Busting, Civil Service Reforms
“The Trump administration is committed to reforming civil service laws, according to a champion of public sector workforce changes at the state level who said he is advising the White House on the issue. Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., said this week he met with Vice President Pence and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at the White House to discuss how the administration can bring reforms in Wisconsin to the federal level. The two-term governor rose to prominence over his controversial “right-to-work” legislation that stripped most state and local employees of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights. Pence and Gingrich, an unofficial Trump adviser, gave Walker’s ideas a warm reception, the governor said…”