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Print Council News - Reform Legislation
Reform legislation (HR 2309) is pending in the House and is expected to be considered by the House prior to the August congressional recess.
The House is expected to vote on and likely approve a version of HR 2309 sometime in July. While HR 2309 is very different from S. 1789 passed by the Senate, there seems to be a commitment from all parties to reach an agreement between the two versions.
It is generally concluded that the House version has more "reform" in it. For example, HR 2309 would create a "solvency authority" to take over management of the USPS in the event that certain expense reductions are not met. That authority would have the power to reopen labor contracts to assure that "no layoff clauses" would be removed to allow the USPS to remove excess employees. The bill would also encourage the USPS to close facilities and end Saturday delivery while the Senate bill contains provisions to delay such decisions for at least two years.
Significant for print and paper based communications, HR 2309 relies fairly heavily on rate increases. The 2006 reform bill had a hard fought agreement to limit annual rate increases to the consumer price index (CPI). That agreement was designed to end the expensive legal fights that were the norm and to permit the USPS to increase rates every year without having to go to the Postal Regulatory Commission.
HR 2309 would set in motion increases in periodical, catalog, nonprofit and political mail without regard to CPI, a move the industry believes would result in decreased volume in those categories of mail.
The bill will not face smooth sailing. It is expected that virtually every Democrat will vote against the bill due to the opposition of the unions and some Republicans are concerned about the possibility of the loss of rural service.