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Postal reform bill passes House and Senate

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New York—Following years of legislative wrangling, Congress on Saturday approved a postal reform bill that now goes to President Bush.

If President Bush signs the bill, it will be the first comprehensive postal overhaul since the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which transformed the old cabinet-level Post Office Department into the current U.S. Postal Service.

The final legislation reflects an agreement among members of Congress, the Bush administration and the mailing community. Key provisions include a cap that will tie future postal rate increases to the rate of inflation; a tight exigency clause defining the conditions for emergency rate increases; the return of military pensions (about $27 billion) to the U.S. Treasury; and language supporting the continuation of work-sharing agreements.

The Direct Marketing Association applauded the passage of the bill, saying it will ensure that the Postal Service can continue to deliver “cost-effective” services to businesses and nonprofit organizations.

—Matthew Schwartz

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