Postal Service Is Hottest Issue on the Hill

2 min

Following widespread media coverage of operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) resulting in delivery delays, the U.S. House of Representatives plans to return from August recess for a vote Saturday, August 22 on legislation to address USPS operations and funding. The Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over the USPS have also announced plans to hold hearings on service, financial, and mail-in voting issues on Friday, August 21 and Monday, August 24, respectively. Although Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced on Tuesday that he would suspend any operational changes until after the election, the hearings and the House vote are expected to proceed.

The legislation the House will vote on is expected to be based on House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) Delivering for America Act, which would block any changes to operations that were in place on January 1, 2020 if the changes would “impede prompt, reliable, and efficient services.” The legislation is also expected to include $25 billion in funding for USPS. The final text of the bill to be considered has not been released, so it is subject to change, but we expect the measure will remain relatively narrow and not touch on broader postal reform issues.

Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not ruled out returning this month to consider legislation, there is currently no expectation that the Senate will return to vote before September 8. The more likely scenario at this juncture is that additional funding for the USPS could be rolled into a government funding bill or COVID-19 relief package in September. The White House and McConnell have indicated they are willing to provide $10 billion.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) announced on Tuesday morning that his committee will hold a hearing on Friday, August 21 with Postmaster General DeJoy to examine the finances and operations of USPS. His announcement follows a weekend announcement from Chairwoman Maloney that her committee’s previously scheduled September 17 hearing would be moved up to Monday, August 24. DeJoy as well as USPS Board of Governors Chairman Robert Duncan are scheduled to testify at that hearing.