August 6, 2018
Yesterday, the Senate passed H.R. 6147, the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act, without considering Senate Amendment 3459. If enacted, the amendment would have prohibited the use of appropriated funds from undermining universal postal services or moving forward with efforts to privatize the Postal Service.
Last week, while the Senate was debating H.R. 6147, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed a “cloture motion” restricting debate on the bill and severely limiting the number of amendments that could be voted upon by the full Senate. The cloture motion was approved on Tuesday, July 31. Consequently, the only way Senate Amendment 3459 could be adopted was if included as part of the “managers’ amendment ” to H.R. 6147. The so-called managers’ amendment needed the acceptance of the the Senate leadership and pivotal members of the committees with jurisdiction over the substance of provisions in the amendment. In the case of Senate Amendment 3459, the approval of the leadership of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was essential. It is noteworthy that Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) serves on both the Appropriations Committee and is a subcommittee chair on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) chairs the full committee. Additionally, there appeared to be resistance by some GOP senators to preempt the release of the President Trump’s Task Force on the Postal System, which may advocate postal privatization.
The Heitkamp-Moran Amendment would have helped protect universal postal services and stalled efforts to privatize the Postal Service. The amendment was introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and cosponsored by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tom Carper (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The President’s postal task force is due to release its findings by August 10. In the meantime, UPMA is working with our allies in the Senate and House to secure legislative language to forestall privatization efforts.
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