American Society of Magazine Editors

House Oversight Committee Holds Markup to consider H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act

On Thursday, October 13, 2011, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a markup to address amendments offered by Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL) - Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy - to Chairman Issa and Ross’s proposed legislation, H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act. (Check out: MPA on Representative Issa's Bill)

Prior to the markup, the Issa-Ross Postal Reform Act included a proposal to require certain mail classes, including magazines, to incur rate increases 5% higher than CPI if their “cost coverage” is less than 90 percent. MPA has long questioned the Postal Service’s calculation of Periodicals attributable costs, due to the enormous excess capacity within the Postal Service with respect to processing of flat-shaped mail pieces like magazines. Rep. Ross’s amendment, which takes the Postal Service’s excess capacity costs into account by requiring a study of the impact of excess capacity on attributable costs for certain classes of mail, was approved by the committee. Once the impact of excess capacity is adjusted for, the Ross Amendment allows the Commission to raise rates for these classes by more than CPI until such classes reach 90% cost coverage. The Amendment is cautious in its approach, allowing a “surcharge” of 2% annually only after the impact of excess capacity is studied.

MPA looks forward to working with Representative Issa and Representative Ross as this legislation advances through the legislative process. MPA’s focus now turns to the Senate, where senior Members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are crafting new legislation to address the Postal Service’s financial situation.