Waiting for Response

About 10 days ago, I spoke to someone in the Boston office of Congressman Stephen Lynch about a bill the postal unions are working for that would change the way pensioners health-care premiums are paid. I’m still waiting for a real answer.

I’m concerned about the current financial crisis in the United States Postal Service. As a paid circulation weekly, my business relies on the mail for delivery of our newspaper to subscribers. And most of our subscribers and most of our advertisers pay their bills by sending checks through the mail.

I have a vested interest in seeing that the mail doesn’t end up looking like General Motors. But then most people need the mail. So I am working on a commentary about whether the USPS is on a downward spiral.

The Postmaster General Jack Potter spoke before the Congressional subcommittee chaired by Lynch back in March.

A press release issued by the Postal Service summed that up testimony by saying: “To strengthen the Postal Service’s efforts, Potter asked Congress to pass H.R. 22 and modify the method by which it is required to fund retirement health care benefits. This legislative change would reverse a policy that was instituted when the Postal Service experienced large surpluses – and result in at least $2 billion in annual savings over an eight year period. There would be no costs to the taxpayer were H.R. 22 to be enacted.”

Anyway, I called the Congressman’s Boston office again last Tuesday. I know they are busy but we all deserve answers about whether we can count on the mail. The press person referred me to the press person in Washington, someone who works for the subcommittee. I received an e-mail reply from the Washington press person, Marcus Williams:

“Hello my media friends,

“Here is the quote that the Chairman has just released regarding the status and progression of H.R. 22, which was originally scheduled to be marked up at 9:30a.m.today, but was postponed on May 17 until further notice.

“Due to PAYGO implications and the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has not yet fully ‘scored’ H.R. 22’s potential cost, the Subcommittee was unable to mark-up the bill prior to today’s hearing,” said Chairman Stephen F. Lynch. “However, I can assure the Postal Service and the American public that once we return from next week’s recess and have heard back from the CBO, this Subcommittee intends to mark-up the measure at the first available opportunity.”

I telephoned Williams looking for more insight because there are few times the postmaster general, postal unions and the National Newspaper Association agree on an issue. I am still waiting for a reply.