Postal Reform: Senate committee says no to amendment backed by MPA, but yes to guns amendment
When it comes to a power play between magazine publishers and gun owners in Washington DC, publishers don’t stand a chance.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, by a vote of 9 to 1 approved moving the 2014 Postal Reform Act to the Senate floor. The bill, crafted by Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is intended to reform the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service through a number of measures including creating a health-insurance option within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Two amendments were debated before the measure was moved by the committee. The first, proposed by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), was backed by business mailers including the MPA – The Association of Magazine Media. The amendment would have struck a section of the new legislation and kept the existing CPI price cap, as well as the Postal Regulatory Commission rate review authority. The amendment was voted down.
“In rejecting this amendment, the Committee has rubber-stamped ongoing postage rate hikes and greatly weakened the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, leaving USPS as an essentially unregulated, government-sanctioned monopoly,” the MPA said in a statement.
“Today’s action could also preempt judicial review of last month’s rate hike, which was three times the rate of inflation, and make permanent the exigent increase. These rate hikes will hurt businesses, cost thousands of people their jobs, and do nothing to right-size the USPS’s bloated infrastructure. This isn’t the postal reform we need. Instead, the Committee wants to pass the buck to the private sector, whose interests have been ignored.”
The fear of commercial mailers is that they will be asked to pay more for postage, which in turn will drive down volume, negating any revenue gains the Postal Service is anticipating.
The committee did, however, vote for guns. The committee unanimously passed an amendment that would allow people to carry guns on postal service property. The measure, introduced by Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) was a somewhat more moderate version of an amendment proposed by Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) which would allowed guns inside post offices. Paul’s amendment was voted down 9 to 6.