Unless someone pulled a rabbit out of a hat in the final days, the first session of the 109th Congress ended without completion of postal reform legislation, which has been stalled in the Senate. It has been delayed because of a dispute between Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kit Bond (R-MO) over a proposed amendment to include a requirement that rates be "fair and equitable."
While the language is identical to that in the House-passed bill, Collins, as well as the Postal Service, object to the amendment. Ironically, the legal impact of the amendment is unclear one way or the other.
While there are those who would argue vigorously for or against the amendment, others suggest the Postal Regulatory Commission—which would be strengthened under the legislation—would view rates the same either way. The Postal Service is concerned that the amendment would limit their rate flexibility.
Groups supporting legislation remain hopeful that the logjam can be broken in 2006. Meanwhile, Congress took a last look at tax cuts as the season ended, but it is unclear whether these cuts will make it through a Republican-controlled Congress that is having more than its share of internal problems.