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15 July 1999
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Surfside, Texas (Mr. PAUL).
(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
1999 Ron Paul 75:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise with some bit of ambivalence with this rule, but I will support the rule. I was concerned about a special issue with the Post Office and was hoping that we could address this in detail, and that has to do with the regulations that I consider very onerous and very maliciously placed on private mailboxes, the Commercial Receiving Agencies. I was very hopeful that we could deal with that. But it appears we will have another chance to do that at a later date.
1999 Ron Paul 75:2
I have a House joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act, H.J. Res. 55. If that were to pass, we could rescind all those regulations. Currently, it is my understanding that these regulations have been put on hold. They will not go into effect soon. But the problem still exists, and I see it as a serious problem.
1999 Ron Paul 75:3
First, let me talk about the Post Office. The Post Office is a true monopoly. In the free market, there are no true monopolies. Only government can allow a true monopoly.
1999 Ron Paul 75:4
We do have enough freedom in this country to some degree to offer competition to even this monopoly of the Post Office. By doing this, the private post offices have been set up to give additional service and privacy to many of our citizens, and they are well used.
1999 Ron Paul 75:5
But now the Post Office sees this as a competition because they are providing services that the Post Office cannot or will not provide. So instead of dealing with this, either providing legalized competition in the Post Office or providing these same services, instead, the Post Office has issued these onerous regulations to attack these customers.
1999 Ron Paul 75:6
They are forcing these private mailbox operators to develop profiles on every customer, have double identification, and then make this information available to the public and to the Post Office for no good reason.
1999 Ron Paul 75:7
When I first got involved in this, I did not know which constituencies would be interested in this issue. But one thing that I have discovered is that many of those women who need privacy will use private post offices to avoid the husband or some other individual who may be stalking them. They have been writing to me with a great deal of concern about what these regulations will do.
1999 Ron Paul 75:8
Also, it is a great cost to these operators as well as to all the customers. The Post Office would mandate that a special address be placed on each piece of mail, indicating that they are receiving mail at one of these private post offices. This costs a lot of money. There will be a lot of mail returned. If these regulations had gone into effect this week, as had been planned, a lot of mail, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pieces, if not millions, would have been returned to the senders, and they would not have been permitted to be delivered.
1999 Ron Paul 75:9
I think this is tragic. I think it has to be dealt with. I am disappointed that we cannot do much with it today, but I know there is a growing support in this country and in this Chamber for doing something about this problem.
1999 Ron Paul 75:10
We as a Congress have the ability, and the authority, to undo regulations. For too long, we have allowed our regulatory bodies to write law, and we do nothing about it. Since 1994, we have had this authority, but we never use it. This is a perfect example of a time that we ought to come in and protect the people, try to neutralize this government monopoly and help these people who deserve this type of protection and privacy.
1999 Ron Paul 75:11
Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. HOYER).
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the gentleman from Texas that I think he raises the question that is a good question; and it should be raised, should be looked at.
It will not come as a surprise to him that we do not agree on all the aspects of what he has said, but he certainly raises an issue that ought to be focused on. I know in talking to the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman KOLBE) that he shares that concern. I want to assure the gentleman that both the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE) and myself will be looking at this.
Furthermore, as the gentleman may know, the Postal Department has made very substantial changes to its initially sponsored resolution through the efforts of the organizations that the gentleman from Texas talked to and himself and others who raised these issues with the department, so that they are moving to ensure greater privacy and protection to the individuals of which the gentleman spoke.
The gentleman from Texas raises a legitimate issue. I certainly intend to, along with the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE), look at that further. I thank the gentleman for his comments.
1999 Ron Paul 75:12
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the gentleman from Maryland.