Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House advances the STOP Act

Today, the House of Representatives advanced “The Securing the International Mail against Opioids Act of 2018” (H.R. 5788), drafted as a replacement for the stalled STOP Act (H.R. 1057, S. 372). As introduced by Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI), the bill’s original language was a reasonable and acceptable measure to aid in the fight against opioids (view NALC’s write up on the original bill here). However, a last-minute amendment made drastic changes to the bill’s language, harming the Postal Service and benefiting private shippers.

The amendment changes included accelerating the timeline for the Postal Service to reach 100 percent compliance with the advanced electronic data (AED) mandate, from four years in the original measure, to two. This completely ignores the constraints imposed on the USPS by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) conventions. It also includes imposing civil penalties on the Postal Service and its customers should the AED mandate not be met.

NALC opposed the amended measure in the House along with the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, and the National Postal Mail Handers Union, sent a letter (viewable here) to Congress expressing our opposition to the inclusion of civil penalties and the accelerated timeline. The unions urged Congress that if the bill were signed into law, USPS could be forced to enact a series of cost-saving actions that frequently result in reductions of service, consolidation and closing of offices, and cuts to the employee workforce. Such actions ultimately come to the detriment of the American public, the very people this bill is attempting to aid.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a companion bill, S. 3057, identical to the House-passed version, and NALC will actively engage on the Senate side as the bill progresses.

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