Naming post offices a priority for Congress as legislation to help postal service failed

January 8, 2013
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Congress cannot seem to reach consensus on legislation to revamp the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service. But lawmakers sure have spent a lot of time on other urgent business involving the nation’s teetering mail agency: Naming post offices.

That’s the conclusion of an report Tuesday in the Courier Express and Postal Observer, which took data from 1973 to 2012 compiled by Noah Veltman and found a huge increase in the number of laws to name post offices and in their relative share of the legislation passed by recent congresses.

The postal blog says that more than 15 percent of all bills passed and signed into law in the last five congresses named a post office. The practice spiked after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and has continued during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The naming of post offices to honor American heroes is a powerful tradition. But its spike in recent years, as Congress has been unable to make postal reform a top priority because of ideological differences and other priorities (fiscal cliff, anyone?) is a delicious irony for some.

“If Congress expected that.. naming a post office would provide a long-lasting memorial, the financial problems of the Postal Service risk making the memorial an ephemeral one at best,” writes Alan Robinson, the Courier’s publisher.

He continues: “It is too bad that Congress does not understand the irony in its rush to name post offices to honor heroes when it has not taken steps to ensure the survival of the institution whose facilities are used to provide the memorial.”

 

 

Lisa Rein covers the federal workforce and issues that concern the management of government.
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Steve Vogel · January 8, 2013