June 5, 2019
Ashley Poling will be nominated to be a Postal Regulatory Commission by President Trump. She will join Ann Fisher, Director of the PRC Office of Public Affairs & Government Relations, as the candidates to replace outgoing Commissioners Tony Hammond and Nanci Langley, whose holdover years end in October and November.
The good news for mailers is that the new Commissioners could join recent appointee Michael Kubayanda in bringing fresh new thinking to the PRC. The potential bad news is that they could give Chairman Robert Taub the votes he needs to impose the kinds of price increase surcharges on mailers that the Commission floated in December 2017. These would have added up to three layers to the Consumer Price Index, resulting in five years of increases totaling 28 to 40 percent, depending on the type of mail. The entire mailing community, as well as Commissioners Hammond, Langley and Mark Acton, opposed these draconian actions that would ignite the mail volume death spiral that everyone fears.
Poling’s work experience has been on the Hill since 2013, for Democratic Senators Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Gary Peters of Michigan. The Senators all have served on the committee that oversees postal issues, and have expressed concerns about maintaining top-notch, universal postal service to large rural areas in their states.
Nominees for PRC Commissioner and the two for USPS Governor have not been high on the Administration’s priority list for Senate confirmation. So, there is little way to know how soon they might be confirmed. They could be included in a package deal of confirmations.