After five and a half years of failed efforts to pass postal reform legislation, at least one member of Congress has apparently lost hope that the U.S. Postal Service can be saved through traditional congressional means. In a letter sent this week to colleagues and others affected by postal issues, Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) proposed that a congressional commission be formed to study the mission and operations of the USPS.
“Good faith efforts in the 105th, 106th, and so far in the 107th Congress to develop a legislative consensus on various meaningful postal reform proposals have not been successful,” LaTourette’s letter says. “Urge the president to appoint a nonpartisan and independent commission of citizens with business, labor, consumer, and economic experience to advise the administration and Congress on developing a national postal policy examining what the USPS mission should be and how the system should be restructured and reformed.”
The Direct Marketing Association quickly voiced its disapproval. “The idea of a commission has to have some sort of interim legislative relief that goes with it,” says DMA spokesperson Lou Mastria. “You can’t just put all your eggs in a commission’s basket, because it will be at least 18-24 months until such a commission comes up with any proposals. And at that point, we’ll be in the middle of a presidential election cycle, and there would likely be no action out of this commission until 2005. So can customers of the Postal Service really afford to wait that long?”