Government affairs

Legislative Updates

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS INNOVATION HEARING

On Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census held a hearing titled “Examining Innovative Postal Products for the 21st Century.” The hearing witnesses—including representatives from the Postal Service, Outbox Inc., Stamps.com, M-pack Systems and Newgistics Inc., as well as USPS Inspector General David Williams—discussed new opportunities to generate more revenue and business, as well as their concerns over the USPS’ response to private-sector business needs.

During the hearing, USPS emphasized the need for postal reform and highlighted the “severely limited, statutorily-mandated, restrictive business model” with respect to meeting the innovative needs of the industry. The private-sector businesses expressed frustration over the limited nature of innovation with the USPS and encouraged members of Congress to recognize the need for effective reform that would allow the Postal Service to innovate and thrive in today’s marketplace.

While the focus of the hearing was innovation, it inevitably turned into a discussion on postal reform, with Subcommittee Ranking Member Stephen Lynch (D-MA) discussing the Postal Service’s partnership with Amazon to expand into seven-day delivery.

“It’s an example of innovation rather than degradation of existing postal products and services and we will be well served to take a similar approach as we continue to undertake the critical task of reforming today’s Postal Service,” Lynch said. “The agency can experience positive financial results when it capitalizes and builds upon what it already does best, utilizing an unparalleled and universal mail network that is driven by a hard working dedicated workforce to deliver the mail to the American people now seven days a week.”

When discussing Outbox, a digital delivery company that recently closed its doors while blaming USPS for its demise, Lynch stated that a decline in mail volume would be “really disruptive” for the Postal Service.
Recognizing the environmental popularity of digital mail, Lynch went on to discuss its detrimental impacts to postal employees. “That’ll be a terrible thing for the United States Postal Service’s letter carriers; it’ll cause a drop in volume, but that’s really disruptive change. That’s what we’re going to have to deal with at some point.”

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