As November Nears, U.S. House Shifts Into High Lawmaking Gear — To Rename Post Offices

WASHINGTON ― The 118th Congress, with just 65 successful bills to its name so far, has been historically unproductive in terms of making laws over the past year and a half. But in recent weeks, House Republicans have begun to make serious progress, at least in one respect.

Since May, the House has passed bills to rename 32 post offices, bringing the total to 35. If all those are also passed by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden, as expected, they would make up more than a third of all the laws — and, yes, they count as new laws — produced by the 118th.

“Under House Republicans, we’ve been witness to the least productive Congress in a generation. In fact, one of their own ― Mr. [Derrick] Van Orden [R-Wis.] ― said it best: ‘Look at what we’ve accomplished. The answer is nothing,’” said Viet Shelton, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Their complete failure at governing and their rush to fall in line behind whatever [Donald] Trump tells them to do is going to be why voters reject them and help Democrats retake the majority.”

The postal honorees represent a wide spectrum, from famous American figures including country music legend Johnny Cash and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to veterans of wars ranging from the Civil War to Afghanistan to local civil rights and law enforcement figures. Even some longtime postal workers have gotten the honor.

About 980 of the U.S. Postal Services’ almost 34,000 post offices have been renamed since Congress began the practice in 1967, the Congressional Research Service said in May.

But a literal act of Congress isn’t necessary to change the names. The CRS said the postmaster general can also do so, though with a few more limitations on who can be honored than what applies to Congress.

Until late January, the House had avoided renaming post offices or acting on similar commemorative bills, voting only to change the names of two Veterans Affairs facilities.

But the pace has ramped up, and in a flurry of activity June 3, the House sped through renaming 23 post offices as Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) brought them up one by one over the course of two hours on the House floor. All but one were passed without having to take roll call votes.

Though the stepped-up pace may make Congress look busier than it actually is, a House GOP leadership aide warned against making too much it.

“This is on pace with past Congresses. I think it’s fair to assume this Congress will be consistent with past Congresses,” the aide said. According to their figures, the Democratic 117th Congress saw 72 post offices renamed and the Congress before that 66.

The honorees this year, the locations of their post offices and the sponsors of the renaming bills include: