Government affairs

Legislative Updates

HOUSE COMMITTEE MOVES DOOR DELIVERY ELIMINATION BILL

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced and approved the “Secure Delivery for America Act of 2014” (H.R. 4670) along a party-line vote. The bill calls for requiring the Postal Service to eliminate door delivery for 15 million addresses by forcing 1.5 million households and businesses to convert from door delivery to curbside or cluster boxes every year over the next 10 years.

While the bill includes language allowing for waivers for persons with disabilities, all others who choose to retain their door delivery instead of converting to centralized, curbside or sidewalk delivery cluster box would be forced to pay a “delivery tax” for their door service. The bill also calls for requiring the Postal Service to offer and pay for a voucher program to offset the cost of the conversion.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), who sits on the committee and is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census, dubbed H.R. 4670 “a lousy idea." Other lawmakers expressed concern over the viability of the idea in urban areas where there is not sufficient space on city streets for cluster boxes.

“I simply do not agree that we can reform the Postal Service for the better by eliminating the current six day mail delivery,” Lynch said, “by mandating a wholesale conversion of door delivery addresses to curbside cluster box or sidewalk delivery, or by asking postal customers to pay a fee in order to retain their door delivery service.”

During Wednesday’s mark-up meeting, OGR Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) highlighted the Postal Service’s positive second quarter financials and the need for comprehensive postal reform.

“As I have said before, the Postal Service cannot cut its way to profitability,” Cummings said. “I believe we need to pass comprehensive reform legislation that we can all agree on. And I believe the Postal Service should have significantly expanded authority to develop and introduce new products and services to meet customers’ changing needs. If the Postal Service is to be run like a business, it should have the flexibility all other businesses have to provide products people really want. Unfortunately, the legislation before us today is not a comprehensive reform measure.”

Cummings and other lawmakers noted that, since 2006, the Postal Service has reduced its total workforce by more than 200,000 employees and streamlined its operations through network closures and consolidations. They also called attention to the Postal Services’ expanded parcel and package services, highlighting an 8 percent growth in the second quarter and dismissing H.R. 4670 as another attempt to dismantle the network without addressing key reform provisions—such as repealing the pre-funding requirement.

“I’m open to other refinements,” committee member Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said. “Let’s repeal what we did in 2006 because it was wrong and has created red ink.”

In the absence of meaningful postal reform being considered by the committee, NALC will continue to lobby against H.R. 4670 and any other bill put forward that continues the attacks on the postal network and postal employees. We will encourage all NALC members to contact their House members to oppose this legislation.

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