Carper Praises Work of President’s Postal Commission
First Set of Recommendations Similar to Carper's Postal Reform Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. Tom Carper praised the work of the President’s Commission on the U.S. Postal Service, which today recommended ways to give the federal agency more freedom to operate like a private business while refusing to endorse any effort to privatize the agency. Such recommendations are consistent with Sen. Carper’s own efforts on postal reform. But Carper warned that efforts to close postal facilities in order to save money and streamline postal operations should be done in conjunction with the development of strong service standards and a national plan to provide Americans with better overall access to postal services. “I am pleased that the commission’s recommendations avoid the failed deregulation and privatization schemes that have brought chaos and poor service in other countries that have attempted major postal reforms,” said Carper. “The recommendations are reflective of the work Congress has done on postal reform over the years and are similar to the goals of comprehensive postal reform legislation I introduced last month.” Like Carper’s legislation, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (S. 1285), the president’s commission recommends turning the Postal Service’s Board of Governors into a stronger, more independent body that would be better able to manage an entity the size of the Postal Service. Both the Carper bill and the president’s commission would also give the Postal Service significant pricing flexibility so that the agency can better react to the market and encourage increased mail volume. In addition, the Carper legislation and the commission’s recommendations would turn the Postal Rate Commission into a stronger regulatory body charged with ensuring that the Postal Service is serving the public interest and competing fairly with private sector mailers. The recommendations also acknowledge the need for the Postal Service to rationalize its network of post offices and processing centers, and calls for the lifting of restraints that keep the Postal Service from closing post offices that are ineffective or running big deficits. In addition, the commission’s recommendations call for the creation of a separate body that would oversee consolidating some of the Postal Service’s more than 300 processing and distribution centers. The Carper legislation would also set up such a body, called the Postal Network Modernization Commission, to study possible closings and consolidations. However, the Carper legislation would ensure that the process is part of a larger overall plan to strengthen service standards and give Americans better access to postal services than they have today. “While the Postal Service should certainly study the need to close some existing facilities, it is important that they do so in an orderly, accountable way that promotes public confidence and does not in any way hinder the Service’s ability to carry out its mandate to serve all Americans in a non-discriminatory way,” said Carper. “If done haphazardly, facility closings could hurt service in some communities, especially rural and inner-city areas.” The president’s commission today approved a set of recommendations from its Business Model and Private Sector Partnership Subcommittees. A separate vote is expected next week on recommendations from subcommittees dealing with the Postal Service’s workforce and its use of technology. The commission’s final report is due July 31. More information on Carper’s postal reform bill can be found at carper.senate.gov under press releases.