WASHINGTON, DC—The biggest roadblock to meaningful postal reform in 2005 appears to have been removed.
According to Ben Cooper, executive vice president of public policy for the PIA/GATF and chairman of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, the Bush Administration has told Congressional leaders that it will allow postal reform to move forward while the bigger points of contention are ironed out.
And the best possible news for mailers came in the Administration's willingness to seek alternative sources to fund the military service portion of postal retirees, as opposed to making rate payers foot the bill.
Cooper, who has been tirelessly banging the reform drum on behalf of printers, mailers, financial services companies and broad-based businesses, indicated that passage of a bill is likely in 2005—though not a slam dunk. A major task is finding an opening on the Senate floor.
"There will be several big-ticket items that will consume a lot of time, and it just gets difficult to get the leadership to commit to bringing a new bill to the floor," Cooper says.
The biggest stumbling block to appeasing Congress and the Bush Administration was the impact of the bill on the federal budget. Cooper notes that any liability the deficit would encounter is strictly "on a ledger sheet basis, not in dollars and cents," from an accounting standpoint. Still, getting the ledger cost closer to zero, he believes, will help mollify the budget conscious members.