Rough Guide to Trump Task Force This is a very quick draft and therefore incomplete guide to the recent President Trump Executive Order for a Task Force on the Postal Service so we can start thinking about how to respond. The relevant provisions/summary of the Order with short bios of the key members of the Task Force is below. I have also included links to reports by powerful groups/individuals pushing for dismantling the Postal Service that have weighed in on postal issues within the last 5 years. The actual Executive Order is at the bottom and can also be seen herehttps://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-task-force-united-states-postal-system/ Names of Key Players Task Force Members Steven Mnuchin - Secretary of the Treasury (Chair) Mick Mulvaney - Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeff T.H. Pon - Director of the Office of Personnel Management Any other department and agency head the Chair may designate. Individuals the Task Force is required to consult with Megan Brennan - Postmaster General Robert Taub - Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission Individuals the Task Force is required to engage with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III - Attorney General “on issues relating to government monopolies operating in the commercial marketplace” Alexander Acosta - Secretary of Labor “on issues related to workers compensation programs” Behind the Scenes (Positions of Powerful Groups/Individuals Pushing Dismantling the USPS – Incomplete List) Koch Brother Groups and Allies Letter Opposing HR756 dated February 2017 https://www.atr.org/sites/default/files/assets/Coalition%20Letter%20HR%20756%202-6-17.pdf Heritage Foundation (pages 104 – 105 address the Postal Service) http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/BlueprintforReform.pdf Elaine Kamarck - Brookings Institute (Clinton Corporate Democrat) https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/usps.pdf Joseph Shapiro – Sonecon (Clinton Corporate Democrat) Report funded by UPS http://www.sonecon.com/docs/studies/Study_of_USPS_Subsidies_for_Its_Competitive_Operations-Robert_Shapiro-Sonecon-October_21_2015.pdf National Academy of Public Administration Study of the Postal Service funded by Pitney Bowes https://www.napawash.org/uploads/Academy_Studies/USPSreviewFINAL.pdf 2002-2003 President’s Commission on the United States Postal Service http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/usps/offices/domestic-finance/usps/index.html This earlier commission or “task force” was the impetus for the 2006 PAEA. The documents in this Treasury site provide very revealing insight to the positions advocated by the large mailers. For convenience, here is the page that shows the comments from organizations - http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/usps/offices/domestic-finance/usps/comments/organizations/index.html I would recommend starting with the comments from AOL Time Warner (owner of CNN, People magazine, etc.). Trump Executive Order with Bios of Task Force Members Trump Administration Policy Regarding the Postal Service (b) It shall be the policy of my Administration that the United States postal system operate under a sustainable business model to provide necessary mail services to citizens and businesses, and to compete fairly in commercial markets. Task Force Chair Steven Mnuchin - The task force will be chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury who isSteven Mnuchin, appointed to the position by Donald Trump. Mnuchin is a former investment banker who worked for Goldman Sachs for 17 years and later worked as a hedge fund manager. Mnuchin may designate someone to chair the task Force for him. On July 31, 2017, Mnuchin was on a Koch sponsored (Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity) Tax panel with White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short, who is the former President of Freedom Partners, a Koch organization. The panel wasmoderated by Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, another Koch organization. The Koch Brothers played a major role in lobbying (including this type of media lobbying) for the corporate tax cuts. As we unfortunately know now, the corporate tax plan passed Congress and was signed by President Trump. In 2013, Mnuchin is said to have brought in the Koch Brothers as investors for the Wonder Woman movie and the private RatPac-Dune Entertainment company. The Koch Brothers deny any role with the movie. Other Members of Task Force Mick Mulvaney - Director of the Office of Management and Budget (appointed by Trump)While in Congress, Mulvaney was a favorite candidate of the Koch Brothers network. He was a part of the Freedom Caucus (a founding member) and the Tea Party Caucus as a congressman from South Carolina. Mulvaney has a history of working to reduce/deregulate/privatize the federal government and cut programs like social security that benefit most people. Jeff T.H. Pon -Director of the Office of Personnel Management (Appointed by Trump) Pon worked in government and the private sector as a Human Resource Manager and was apparently involved in arranging government contracts for large corporations as a Strategic Human Capital Management Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton. He worked for Bush 1 and Bush 2 while in government. In between the two Bush presidencies, Pon worked in information technology and human resource jobs atFederal Express, Williams Sonoma, PetCo, and Burger King. “Any other department and agency head the Chair may designate.” The Task Force shall consult with the Postmaster General (Megan Brennan) and the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission (Republican Robert Taub). The Task Force shall also engage: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III - Attorney General, “on issues relating to government monopolies operating in the commercial marketplace;” Sessions is well-known so I will skip his bio in the interest of time and space. Important to note that Sessions reversed former President Obama’s order to curtail the use of private prisons. He has received Koch money. Alexander Acosta - Secretary of Labor, “on issues related to workers compensation programs” Acosta is the former chair of US Century Bank and is on the board of trustees for Gulliver Schools, a group of private schools in Florida, that he attended. Acosta was also previously at the NLRB where he generally sided with large employers like Walmart and to the detriment of the rights of workers. Acosta formerly worked on labor and employment issues for Kirkland and Ellis, an antiunion law firm. Kirkland & Ellis has a department that assists corporations in preventing workers from organizing unions (union avoidance), getting rid of unions (decertification), and setting up employer controlled “unions” (employee participation committees) for their corporate clients. In addition to representing Postal Service competitors like FedEx, UPS, and DHL, Kirkland & Ellis also have represented many corporations doing business with the Postal Service, including Time Warner (claims to be biggest USPS customer), RR Donnelley, Verizon Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Amazon, Facebook, Walt Disney, Accenture, and Deloitte to name just a few. Acosta previously taught employment law, disability-based discrimination law, and civil rights law at the George Mason University (GMU) School of Law. The Koch Brothers are the biggest private funders of and their views are heavily intertwined with GMU. Acosta attended a Koch ALEC meeting in 2017 along with Betsy DeVos and other Trump supporters. Evaluation The Task Force shall conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the USPS, including: *The expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS’s role in competitive markets; *The decline in mail volume and its implications for USPS self-financing and the USPS monopoly over letter delivery and mailboxes; *The definition of the “universal service obligation” in light of changes in technology, e?commerce, marketing practices, and customer needs; *The USPS role in the U.S. economy and in rural areas, communities, and small towns; and *The state of the USPS business model, workforce, operations, costs, and pricing.
Executive Order on the Task Force on the United States Postal System BUDGET & SPENDING Issued on: April 12, 2018 By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order the following: Section 1. Policy. (a) The United States Postal Service (USPS) accounts for almost half of global mail volume and is regularly cited as the Federal agency with the highest public approval rating. However, a number of factors, including the steep decline in First-Class Mail volume, coupled with legal mandates that compel the USPS to incur substantial and inflexible costs, have resulted in a structural deficit where revenues are no longer sufficient to fund the pension liabilities and retiree health obligations owed to current employees. The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout. This finding is supported by the following considerations, among others: (i) the USPS has incurred $65 billion of cumulative losses since the 2007-2009 recession; (ii) the USPS has been unable to make payments required by law for its retiree health benefit obligations, which totaled more than $38 billion at the end of fiscal year 2017; and (iii) the Government Accountability Office has had the USPS on its high-risk list since 2009 because of a serious financial situation that puts the USPS mission of providing prompt, reliable, and efficient universal mail services at risk. (b) It shall be the policy of my Administration that the United States postal system operate under a sustainable business model to provide necessary mail services to citizens and businesses, and to compete fairly in commercial markets. Sec. 2. Establishment. (a) There is hereby established a Task Force on the United States Postal Service (Task Force), to be chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, as Secretary and as Chairman of the Federal Financing Bank, or his designee, to evaluate the operations and finances of the USPS. In addition to the Chair of the Task Force (Chair), the Task Force shall be composed of the following department and agency heads, or their designees: (i) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; (ii) the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; and (iii) any other department and agency head the Chair may designate. (b) The Task Force shall consult with the Postmaster General and the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission. (c) The Task Force shall also engage: (i) the Attorney General, on issues relating to government monopolies operating in the commercial marketplace; (ii) the Secretary of Labor, on issues related to workers compensation programs; and (iii) State, local, and tribal officials as determined by the Chair of the Task Force with input from the Task Force members. (d) The Task Force shall meet as required by the Chair and, unless extended by the Chair, shall be dissolved once it has accomplished the objectives set forth in sections 3 and 4, as determined by the Chair, and completed the report described in section 5 of this order. Sec. 3. Evaluation. The Task Force shall conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the USPS, including: (i) the expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS’s role in competitive markets; (ii) the decline in mail volume and its implications for USPS self-financing and the USPS monopoly over letter delivery and mailboxes; (iii) the definition of the “universal service obligation” in light of changes in technology, e?commerce, marketing practices, and customer needs; (iv) the USPS role in the U.S. economy and in rural areas, communities, and small towns; and (v) the state of the USPS business model, workforce, operations, costs, and pricing. Sec. 4. Recommendations for Reform. The Task Force shall develop recommendations for administrative and legislative reforms to the United States postal system. (a) Such recommendations shall promote our Nation’s commerce and communication without shifting additional costs to taxpayers. The recommendations shall be developed in a manner that is consistent with the proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch as required by Executive Order 13781 of March 13, 2017. (b) Such recommendations shall also consider the views of the USPS workforce; commercial, non-profit, and residential users of the USPS services; and competitors in the marketplace. Sec. 5. Report. The Task Force, acting through the Chair and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, shall submit a report to the President, in coordination with the Directors of the Domestic Policy and National Economic Councils, not later than 120 days after the date of this order. In its report, the Task Force shall summarize its findings and recommendations under sections 3 and 4 of this order. Sec. 6. Administration. The Federal Financing Bank shall provide administrative support and funding for the Task Force. Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person. DONALD J. TRUMP