Senate approves USPS overhaul

The Senate passed a U.S. Postal Service bill today after more than a decade of debate and compromise on changes to overhaul the agency. Conference negotiations will be held to reconcile the Senate legislation with a similar House bill passed last year.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.,) who sponsored the House bill as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, issued a statement today praising passage of the Senate legislation, which proposes changes to modernize postal regulations. “The reforms first approved last year by the House and today by the Senate do away with these outdated regulations and help the Postal Service meet the challenges of today's competitive environment," he said.

Lawmakers sought the legislation to bring USPS into the 21st century by “addressing the structural, legal and financial constraints that have brought the Postal Service toward a financial 'death spiral,'" Davis added in his statement.

USPS officials who opposed certain provisions in the Senate bill tried at the last minute to change them.

The American Postal Workers Union, which also opposed the Senate bill, said USPS officials probably acted too late to defeat the legislation. “There’s a lot invested,” said William Burrus, union president.

Burrus said he agreed with USPS officials that the reform legislation that House and Senate lawmakers passed is flawed. “They cite as justification that first-class mail volume is declining, and yet they write a piece of legislation that has nothing in it about increasing volume,” he said.

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