LEGISLATIVE ISSUES — CAN A LAME DUCK FLY?

But they don’t call it ‘Lame Duck’ for nothing. The Democrats’ overwhelming takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives and shocking Senate majority on mid-term election day last month left Republicans dazed and perhaps confused enough to knock off early for Christmas recess.

“I don’t think any of the four principle members of Congress are keen on letting this reform issue roll over to a future Congress,” Cooper notes. “There is a willingness on the part of the four to get it done.

“But they’ve put themselves and postal reform in a terribly tight spot because now we’re depending on House and Senate leadership to make time for a bill, so everything has to be worked out in order for it to get to the floor. When anything gets difficult in Congress, the role of naysayers becomes dominant.”

This is particularly true during the Lame Duck session. A Democrat-controlled Congress, which presumably would lean toward labor-based issues in a future examination of postal reform, may view the business interests in legislation “subordinate to some degree to the interests of the employee groups,” Cooper explains.

“Once you start the process all over again, some of the other reforms in the bill start to fall away, so you lose some of the items that the business side desires. The dynamics aren’t particularly good for the next Congress. My own estimation: if it doesn’t pass this year, we’re likely looking at four years away before we’d have a chance to do it again.”

Lisbeth Lyons, the vice president of government affairs for the PIA/GATF and the person who succeeded Cooper when he left the post earlier this year, echoed his sentiment regarding postal reform’s bleak outlook should it not be salvaged in the Lame Duck session.

“Throughout this battle, we’ve been told by Congress that this is the time and there’s no guarantee there will be a shot for us in the 110th Congress,” she says. “We were told that even before there was a notion that there could be a shift in control of one or both chambers.”

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