Over the last ten years, an average of 15% of all bills passed annually by the U.S. Congress have named or renamed U.S. post offices. Over the same period, however, Congress has failed to pass a single piece of legislation to preserve the financially failing U.S. Postal Service, notes a leading postal industry observer.
In his Courier Express and Postal Observer blog, publisher Alan Robinson cites data showing that since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress has focused its postal-related efforts on naming post offices after victims of the attack or service members who fought in Afghanistan or Iraq.
"If Congress expected that the naming a post office would provide a long-lasting memorial, the financial problems of the Postal Service risks making the memorial an ephemeral one at best," writes Robinson.
During that same stretch of years, while the Postal Service was going from financially sketchy to losing nearly $16 billion a year, legislation to reform and rescue the agency -- which ceased to be an agency in 1971 -- was either never introduced or has been locked away in the congressional committee system.
For example, since Sen. John McCain introduced the Postal Reform Act of 2011 to the Senate on September 23, 2011, has wandered back-and-forth between the Senate and House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and Labor Policy, and the House and Senate Rules Committees, but has never come to a single vote in either chamber.
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While the Postal Reform Act of 2011, which Sen. McCain considered the last best chance for a "viable Postal Service," sat growing old in the legislative process, Congress passed nearly 40 bills naming or renaming post offices.
"It is too bad that Congress does not understand the irony in its rush to name Post Offices to honor heroes when it has not taken steps to ensure the survival of the institution whose facilities are used to provide the memorial," Robinson added.