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The U.S. Postal Service says its debt could reach $45 billion by 2017 if Congress doesn't pass a law allowing reform. The agency and federal lawmakers, however, have yet to agree on what that reform would look like. Now two federal lawmakers are bringing the issue close to home, asking the postal service to consolidate its services on Capitol Hill. David Hawkings, political columnist at Hawkings Here for Roll Call, talks about the latest behind the issue.
On the two federal lawmakers — Darrell Issa of California and Candice Miller of Michigan — asking the postal service to close three post offices located on Capitol Hill: "Charity and prudence begins at home, and this would be a good political gesture on the part of the House to show that they are willing to take some of the cuts ahead of the any legislative effort to reduce the postal service's budget, which of necessity would have to include closing some lesser-served post offices, as well as trimming back some delivery times. The idea here is that the House of Representatives alone has at least four post offices just on its side of the Capitol. And their proposal is to reduce that to one."
On the status of House lawmakers working on broad postal service reform: "This was seemingly going to be one of the big deals of last year. The Senate passed an overhaul bill overwhelmingly about a year ago. The house never took it up. They negotiated on this right up until the end of the year, and nothing came of it. Since then, the postal service itself has tried to sort of jump start things by saying they are going to suspend Saturday delivery of most first-class mail, and Congress responded by saying, 'oh no, you're not.'... I think Congress does realize the deep financial problems with postal service is in, but they haven't come up with a way to both reign it in and do what's necessary to... close post offices and limit delivery back home."
On Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky speaking at Howard University: "The most obvious significance is that Rand Paul is making very little bones about the fact that he wants to be the Republican nominee for president in 2014. He is getting out on the road and doing what the Republican party realizes it needs to do, which is at least speaking to some of the audiences that have spurned the Republican party in recent elections. Obviously, Howard is a historically black college and populated by lots of young people... and young people and ethnic minorities are two big-time growth opportunities."