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Episode 1 – Industry Corner Podcast

IN THIS EPISODE: We talk about what's going on with the President's Task force, House Bill HR6076, and finally, the Opioid Epidemic and the Stop Act, and what that means to postal customers

Links to the resources mentioned in the podcast.



Chris: Hi Everyone, I’m Chris Lien…

     Anita: And I’m, Anita Pursley, welcome to Industry Corner, a podcast where we’ll be talking about industry
topics and breaking them down into easy to understand terms.

Chris: In this episode we talk about what’s going on with the President’s task force, House Bill HR-6076 and
the opioid epidemic, the Stop Act, and what that means to postal customers. So let’s get into it.

Anita, I’m so happy to be with you to talk about some important topics. So, Anita, great seeing you

     Anita: Great to see you too, Chris.

Chris: I’m sure a lot of you are familiar or have seen Anita Pursley’s name or myself, Chris Lien, as well.
You know, we’ve been around in the mailing industry for a while longer than I think we were going to share.
Right, Anita?

     Anita: Right, that’s a secret. That’s a secret.

Chris: We’re not gonna share that, but we will share that, um, that we’ve known each other a long time and I
have tremendous respect for Anita, always have. And part of that stems from, she’s on top of what’s going on
in this industry, tuned in to the pulse of what’s happening, not just from a regulatory change with the
postal service, we’re all involved in than a regular basis, but Anita, you bring some important pieces to the
table here that I don’t think you can find in many places and that has to do with governance and putting
things that can be complicated to understand and very simple, easy to understand terms. And that’s the core
of this podcast. So, Anita, I’m really, really thrilled to be with you today and talking about some of these

     Anita: Great. There is a lot happening. I think July has been a little quiet because I think everything’s
been on pause until the President’s task force issues its report. So I thought maybe we’d start out with

Chris: Yeah, I agree. That’s a topic that kind of popped up earlier this year. Everyone heard about it, it’s
very active. And then kind of quieted down, but things had been happening, right? I mean, there’s been
activity going along with that. It’s not just disappeared, we will be seeing something soon. Is that right?

     Anita: Right. There’s been a lot of activity behind closed doors. The task force did meet with a lot of
industry stakeholders and the postal service and the commission as well. So they’ve been very, very active
and the report is supposed to be available on August 10th. That’s a 120 days after the President’s proposed
changes. He wanted the recommendations within 120 days, but we’ve heard recently that it will not be made
public on August 10th. It will probably be a little bit later and that Homeland Security and Government
Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson is planning to hold a hearing on the Presidential Task Force. So it
was originally planned for August 15th, but now they’ve pushed that back til September 5th.

Chris: That was the Senator Ron Johnson was originally going to do this or you know, like shortly after it
was supposed to be released, but now he’s going to push that out. So that indicates that will probably won’t
see it on August 10th.

     Anita: Right. It probably will not be made public and I understand that they’re doing some intra-agency
vetting, so between the OPM, Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget and the
Treasury. So the reports circulating through those, is my understanding.

Chris: Okay. Okay. So we and the public side won’t see that for a little while, but hopefully the senator and
the governing committees will have a chance to take a look at that in advance so that when they do hold that
hearing September 5th and, and uh, that’ll be interesting. You’re right after Labor Day there. But September
5th they’ll hold a hearing and then we, the public, will have a better understanding as to what’s involved.

     Anita: Right, exactly.

Chris: Do you think we’ll see it before that hearing, Anita? Will we have a chance to view it before the

     Anita: You know, your guess is as good as mine, Chris. I, I really don’t know, but we’ll be anxiously
awaiting it.

Chris: Well, there’s a couple of, we’ve got a little bit of a preview of what might be in that proposal,
didn’t we? I think it was 130 pages that the administration put forward on sort of various areas that they
were looking at restructuring solutions in the 21st century. Is that right?

     Anita: That’s right. In fact, the President’s proposal was issued this like two months after his executive
order to establish the task force. And so at that point it really became very evident that the White House is
interested in privatizing the postal service.

Chris: Privatizing the Postal Service? Wait wait, privatizing the Postal Service? How’s that even possible,
Anita? The US Postal Services is, it’s foundation is built into the constitution of the United States.
Article One, section eight. How’s that possible?

     Anita: Oh Gosh, only you can cite those numbers, but no, it is, it’s hard to imagine and a lot of people have
come out in opposition. Certainly the unions, the APWU, and the National Association of Letter Carriers,
they’ve come out in opposition and Coalition for Twenty First Century Postal Service issued a press release
saying that privatization is not the answer. So there’s a lot of opposition in it. It’s probably more of a
longterm effort. I would suggest that that might be something that has to be considered down the road, but
the report says that the task force needs to consider bringing the postal service back to financial stability
prior to any future conversion from a government agency. So there is some method to the madness here.

Chris: Yeah, I guess the way that I kind of read that too, Anita, and it’s really in the summary of the
proposal and in what states for years I’ve got in front of me here, although I will admit I did not read the
whole 130 pages. I only jumped to the, you know, the key part, right. The summary of the proposal would
restructure the United States Postal System to return to a sustainable business model or prepare it for the
future conversion from a government agency into a privately held corporation. So as is often the case and we
see a lot of this stuff certainly in postal regulatory changes, but the conjunction or, right, I keep
thinking of that in conjunction junction, what’s your function? Well, in this situation the or is really
critical. And in the I read that Anita is, it sounded like, you know, it’s an either/or. Either we need to
through this taskforce and possibly, hopefully some legislation and I think you’re going to talk about that
in a minute, get the post service back on the right track OR look at preparing for a future conversion. But I
have to say that privatizing the US postal service really kind of scares me and partly because it’s already
privatized in a lot of ways, think about it. 85% from what I understand, 85% of all mail that’s handled by
the Postal Service is receiving some kind of a discount, a cost avoided discount, 85%. So if that’s true as
reported by the office of the Inspector General, I, I would almost make the argument that it’s sort of semi
privatized now,

     Anita: Right. Work sharing at its best.

Chris: Yeah, exactly. And, and you know, and that has worked very, very well over the past several decades
continues to create innovation and I think that we’re seeing a lot of that lately with some things like
Informed Visibility and Informed Delivered. I’m sure we’ll talk about those in future podcasts as
these continue to be built out. But you mentioned something about the house, a posturing already in responses,
potential privatization that’s a house resolution bill that were floated. Is that right?

     Anita: This just happened a couple of weeks ago, House Representative Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts and
Rodney Davis from Illinois, I believe were the two congressmen that introduced this resolution. And of
course, you know, I mean, I’m used to talking bills and proposed legislation, but I wasn’t really sure what a
resolution is, so it’s not as binding as a bill, but it’s more of an expression of an opinion. So that’s
really what’s behind this resolution and it’s really expressing the sense of the House of Representatives
that Congress should take all appropriate measures to ensure that the postal service remains an independent
establishment of the federal government. So that’s what this resolution is all about. And I think what was
interesting was I wrote an article for the Ebulletin on Monday about this resolution and at that point there
were 22 cosponsors and this morning I checked in there were 48. So yeah. So, so people are signing on and I
think it’s pretty prevalent opinion certainly within the house.

Chris: Yeah. No. And I think, I think certainly one positive thing that comes out of that as well is I’m just
underscoring for the administration, hopefully for entire congress is the United States Postal Service is at
the center of this 1.4 trillion dollar mailing industry. That’s seven and a half million Americans, seven and
a half million votes that are tied to this industry and of course BCC Software and our customers, thousands
of customers are that are part of that you’ll rely on the US Postal Service. And so I’m pleased to hear that,
uh, that, that has a house resolution bill, even though it’s nonbinding, is gaining some support because we
need a thriving postal service to continue to move this, this very large industry forward.

     Anita: That’s so true.

Chris: Now, speaking of the House Anita, there was bill that’s still going on, right? Postal legislation
continues to be sort of kicked around, brought up to the table. What, what are the chances of anything
meaningful happening? Is there something new on the horizon?

     Anita: Well, it’s funny, I wouldn’t say it’s who you talk to, but I looked at government track, I don’t know
or govtrack.us I believe is the website and the house bill that was introduced in June, which kind of mirrors
HR-756, which was introduced in the last congress shows that it has a 29% chance of advancing. Which I
thought was rather interesting, but in some cases, you know, bills are really just introduced as posturing or
as you know, trying to appease their constituents and in, you know, so we have a lot of rural senators and
congressmen that are very concerned about delivery and protecting the postal service. So the new bill is HR-
6076, I believe. But it, it pretty much mirrors HR-756 that was introduced by Chaffetz last congress. And
we’ll see, you know, there hasn’t been any activity.

Chris: Well 756 did gain a lot of traction and now knowing a lot of us were very hopeful that that would move
forward. So I’m pleased to hear that some of those contents have moved forward. Perhaps we’ll have a more
detailed breakdown in a future Ebulletin on that. I agree with you though, that in addition to showing that
our elected representatives are doing what we’ve asked them to do when they go to Washington, D.C., it also
brings greater awareness to what’s going on with this industry. And as I said before, 1.4 trillion dollar
industry that’s really important. And particularly for rural areas growing up in northern Minnesota, I can
certainly speak to the importance of mail delivery for that. And I know Senator Heitkamp from North Dakota
has a lot to say about mail in her particular area as well. So we’ll see what happens with that one. The last
topic, um, you know, again, back to governance. The last topic that I know has a lot of conversation going on
right now and it has to do with the epidemic across the entire country. Opioids. Really are an epidemic and a
significant problem for the nation as a whole. The US Postal Service has recently been brought into this
epidemic as well. With the Stop Act, can you give us an idea as to what this is?

     Anita: Yeah. Now this is a bill that has a lot of support and, and I, I think I can say comfortably that we
expect the bill will eventually be signed into law. So there’s a, there’s a bill in the house and there’s a
similar bill in the Senate that will be going through the Senate Finance Committee soon. But essentially it’s
going to require the postal service to collect advanced electronic documentation on shipments that are coming
into the United States. Just like Fedex and ups are required to do the postal service right now is only
collecting that kind of data on about 40 percent of their inbound packages. So yeah, so they’re going to be
required if the bill passes, there’ll be required to move that up to 70 percent by the end of the year that
the bill is enacted. And then by the year 2020, I believe, they’ll have to be at 100 percent. So it’s got a
lot of support and the only reason that I think mailers have any concern is because of the additional cost
that it might add to the postal service complying with this law and of course as you know, any expensive that
the postal service incurs ends up in the rate payers pocket.

Chris: In particular when we talk about parcels or, or things like that because those are generally speaking
market competitive priced. Um, so the post service could pass through some of those costs. With that. I, my
understanding, and this is based on the National Association of letter carriers who, who have real issues
with this and are opposed to certain parts. I mean, I don’t think you can. I don’t think you can oppose the
idea that we need to figure out a way to stop this epidemic or at least scale it back as much as we can. But
they’re reporting it’s a dollar a package costume fee on USPS packages coming into the country. And 400
million packages. A $400,000,000 is what NLC is talking about. Um, is that what you’re saying is that could
possibly be passed through. Is there a dollar a package fee?

     Anita: Right, right. And once they work out the differences in the Senate and the House bill, it’s going to
answer a lot of those questions for us. There may be an appropriations of some type and, and hopefully it
won’t hurt the rate payers.

Chris: Well, that’s an interesting thought. You know, it’s almost kind of an appropriation. I mean, in a way
the US postal service then becomes sort of a gatekeeper to protect the nation from these drugs coming in. My
understanding is that chiefly they’re coming from China and things like that and in small increments per
package, but in totality it represents a lot of fentanyl and a lot of problems for our nation. So we’ll have
to watch that closely.

     Anita: Right, exactly. Sounds like we made it through our list of topics.

Chris: I think we did. So again, Anita, as always, I love being with you. Love talking about these things and
so glad that we’re kicking off this podcast and looking forward to some future conversations with you.

     Anita: Me too.

Chris: And to all of our listeners out there from your friends here, at BCC Software, we’re glad that you’re
joining us. Please visit our webpage at BCCsoftware.com. Give us a call or send us a note and as always, let
us know how can we help? Have a great day.

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