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NAPS Legislative Counsel
As Election Day approaches, NAPS continues to target resources through SPAC, its political war chest, to House and Senate candidates—both Democrat and Republican—committed to a strong postal system and the preservation of civil service benefits. When you vote on Nov. 6, please vote for congressional lawmakers committed to these same goals.
There is no doubt about it. The upcoming mid-term congressional elections could be consequential for the Postal Service and its employees. Most notably, a Democratic takeover of at least one legislative chamber of Congress could seriously obstruct efforts by President Trump and others to privatize the Postal Service and cut employee and retiree benefits.
Right now, the most likely result, polls suggest, is a “blue wave” of Democrat wins that upend Republican control in the House. An even bigger blue wave could put control of the Senate in play, although that is less likely. Control by the Democrats of even one legislative chamber would create obstacles for Trump’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill.
To take control of the House, Democrats need to gain at least 23 seats in the Nov. 6 election. Polls suggest Democrats could take 20 to 40 seats. Over the past several months, polls increasingly have shown Democrats with a significant lead among registered voters in the so-called generic congressional ballot. The Democrat lead in mid-September, according to Real Clear Politics, was even larger than the 11.5 percentage point lead Democrats held in generic congressional polls in 2006 when they took over both the House and Senate.
A Democratic takeover of the Senate, however, faces challenges. In the Senate, Democrats are defending three times as many seats as Republicans, with 10 Senate Democrats running in states won by Trump two years ago. Three of the most endangered Democrats are strong allies to NAPS on postal issues: Sens. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Jon Tester in Montana and Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
All three are members of the Senate committee that oversees the Postal Service; McCaskill is the ranking Democrat on that panel. All three have been particularly aggressive in their oversight of the Postal Service and insistent on prompt service to their rural constituents. In 2015, Tester became the first sponsor of MSPB appeal rights legislation for EAS employees.
Mindful of the re-election challenges these key allies face, NAPS has targeted SPAC funds to their campaigns, along with other Senate and House candidates—Democrat and Republican—committed to a strong Postal Service and the preservation of civil service employee and retiree benefits.
Postal Task Force Report Remains Under Wraps
The Trump administration, according to press reports, is planning to keep secret until after the mid-term elections a report delivered to the President in early August with recommendations for reorganizing the Postal Service. The report was generated by a task force appointed by the President earlier this year to take a long-term look at the Postal Service.
An Office of Management and Budget report earlier this year recommended privatizing the Postal Service; it’s expected the White House task force report will recommended privatization, as well. The Trump administration and Republican congressional leaders likely did not want to subject vulnerable Republican candidates to defending Postal Service privatization in the run-up to the election.
The Board of Governors Begins to Gain Members
Seven seats on the Postal Service Board of Governors remain unfilled after the Senate finally confirmed two members by a voice vote on Aug. 28: Robert M. Duncan of Kentucky and David C. Williams, the former inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service. The Board of Governors, as the body responsible for overseeing the Postal Service, has been without members for the past 20 months because of political stalemates and, at times, congressional indifference.
Under current arrangements, Duncan and Williams will not serve very long. Duncan’s term will expire Dec. 8; Williams’ appointment will expire a year later on Dec. 8, 2019. Two more BOG candidates are in the wings. Trump has announced he intends to nominate Ron A. Bloom of New York for a term expiring in 2020 and Roman Martinez IV of Florida for a term ending in 2024.
That means five more slots would remain, giving the Trump White House added opportunity over the next two years to create a board of governors committed to Trump’s emerging vision of a privatized postal system.