Postal Service reform needs to be passed
Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," says the United States Postal Service motto - but the House majority might.
The House adjourned last week without passing a postal reform bill that passed the Senate last April with bipartisan support. So the service continues to lose $25 million a day in 2013, just as it did throughout 2012 even while slashing costs through layoffs, consolidated processing and closed post offices.
Components of an effective reform are obvious, and many were included in the Senate bill.
The post office suffers severely from digital competition. Email is the new letter; millions of Americans pay bills electronically, reducing mail volume.
But some of the USPS financial problems have been inflicted by federal law. Foremost is a requirement that the service pre-pay 75 years worth of retiree health-care obligations, making it the only such federally related agency with such a mandate. It costs $5 billion a year, making it impossible for the service to break even.
Congress also has declined to return about $11 billion in the service's accumulated overpayments for pension obligations.
The Senate bill also authorized operational changes, including the end of Saturday service within two years unless the USPS otherwise finds comparable savings.
This year the new Congress finally should enact reform and leave the weather as the principal deterrent to mail service.