by Harry Glenn
As predicted at the May conference, the House and Senate will make another attempt at moving postal reform and modernization legislation through Congress as early as this summer. This makes it more important than ever that each AUSPL member makes contact with his or her member of Congress to share the association’s interest in this matter.
AUSPL President Morgan Wolaver, Board Member Gary Phillips and Director of Operations Mark Karolczyk visited Capitol Hill May 20 and 21 to meet with key members of Congress and legislative staff who will be drafting postal legislation. What they found was a strong interest by the House and Senate in dealing with postal matters this year, but a slightly different approach by both bodies. Although no legislation had yet been drafted, there was conversation of committee consideration as early as June or July. This could be preceded with one or more House and Senate oversight hearings with USPS officials and interested parties.
Your AUSPL leadership did find strong support from the members and staff they met with to protect leased post offices, particularly in rural areas. The Senate has two bipartisan working groups on postal issues, one of which is led by Senator Tom Carper (DE) who is seeking to educate Senators on the many complex issues that need to be addressed in postal legislation. The other, led by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND), focuses on improving rural mail delivery service. The staff of both Senators were most appreciative of AUSPL input and pledged continuing support for protecting the USPS mission to provide universal service and make best use of rural facilities. The AUSPL team also visited the offices of seven House and Senate members who serve on the committees that oversee USPS operations and will have the first look at the legislation.
It is important that each of you contacts your representatives in the House and Senate to reiterate that:
• Leased facilities play an important and cost-effective role in USPS operations.
• The rent paid for leased facilities makes up less than 1 percent of the postal budget.
• Most of the leased facilities are in rural areas and are part of the social fabric of these small communities. Without these facilities, USPS would find it impossible to meet its mission to provide universal service.
• The Postal Service should find innovative ways to make better use of these small and rural facilities to provide greater service to their communities and generate additional revenue for USPS.
• To explain and justify its plans, the Postal Service is required to consult with Congress, community leaders and the residents of any community in which the USPS desires to close facilities.
To identify your members of the House and Senate, please go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ . There, you can type in the zip code not only of your home of record but areas in which you own postal facilities. Then, contact your members of Congress in writing or by e-mail, or request a meeting with them when they are back home in their district and state offices. Please share any replies or the notes of any meetings with Sandra Lindsay at email@example.com at our AUSPL offices.
Congressman Mark Amodei told our Reno conference that is important that the members of our association take the time to educate their members of Congress about the interests of AUSPL in postal legislation. It is incumbent upon each of us to do just that.