Republicans signaled last week that the House would likely not vote before the August recess on a postal bill from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the Oversight Committee chairman, and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.).
Senators and outside industry observers decried that holdup, saying that any delay reduces the chances of lawmakers coming together on a broad postal reform package. The Senate passed its own postal reform bill in April, and key senators are waiting to negotiate a compromise bill with the House.
“The longer the House delays reforming the Postal Service, the more likely it is that nothing happens,” said Art Sackler of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, a group that represents the private-sector mailing industry.
The postponement of work on the postal bill also comes as House GOP leaders have shown little to no interest in advancing the chamber’s farm bill, another piece of legislation that could be a tough vote for some in the Republican rank-and-file.
At the same time, with the November elections less than four months away, GOP leaders in the House have scheduled a series of messaging votes meant to highlight the differences between the parties on issues like healthcare repeal and extending current tax rates.
That has left some observers concerned that, even if the House can pass its bill after it returns in September, final negotiations on a postal revamp could spill over into the lame-duck session after the election.
Republicans are increasingly expecting to hold the House in November, so they figure they can delay all they want to. They figure the country won't punish them for continually trying to sink the economy under President Obama by wasting everyone's time with meaningless message votes and job-destroying cuts.
They're probably right. Of course, the fact that a large percentage of Postal Service employees are minority means that House Republicans can let the USPS fall apart, call for tens of thousands more job cuts, and then blame President Obama for the loss of middle-class jobs for African-American and Latino families.
It's worked so far. There's no reason to believe it won't work again.