CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider the Senate Amendments to H.R. 1454, on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 1454 was introduced on March 12, 2009, by Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, as amended, by voice vote on June 10, 2009. The bill was approved by the House on December 7, 2009, by voice vote. On July 29, 2010, the Senate approved an amended version of the bill by unanimous consent.
H.R. 1454 would require the U.S. Postal Service to issue a semipostal stamp to contribute to the operations supported by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. Under the bill, the stamp could not cost more than the cost of a stamp for mailing a single, first-class letter plus 15 percent (as opposed to 25 percent in the House version of the bill). Amounts in excess of the cost of postage received from the stamp would be transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be used to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. The proceeds would be divided equally among the African Elephant Conservation Fund, the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, the Great Ape Conservation Fund, the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, and other international wildlife conservation funds authorized by the Congress in the future. Any amounts received by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds could not be taken into account when considering regular appropriations levels.
Unlike the House bill, the Senate Amendment does not include instructions as to the depiction of animals on the stamps. The stamps would be made available for a period of at least two years (as opposed to five years in the House version), beginning 12 months after the date of enactment.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) supports certain causes and organizations by issuing special, semipostal stamps that sell for an amount greater than the standard stamp rate. According to the USPS, “The price of a semipostal pays for the First-Class single-piece postage rate in effect at the time of purchase plus an amount to fund causes that the Postal Service determines to be in the national public interest and appropriate. By law, revenue from sales (minus postage and the reasonable costs of the Postal Service) is to be transferred to a selected executive agency or agencies.” The only current semipostal stamp is the 55 cent Breast Cancer Research stamp, which was issued in 1998 and has risen over $54 million.
According to CBO, H.R. 1454 would have no significant discretionary cost to the federal government. Additionally, CBO estimates that the bill would have no significant effect on direct spending.