In the decade that the long-term financial problems of the Postal Service have been discussed openly, Post Office naming bills have become a focus of Congress. In each of the past five Congresses over 15% of all bills passed and signed into law named a Post Office.
The increase in interest in naming Post Offices began in the Congress that served when 9/11 occurred. As such, it is likely that most of those honored by having a Post Office named after them died in the terrorist attacks in the United States, or served their country in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed. If Congress expected that the naming a Post Office would provide a long-lasting memorial, the financial problems of the Postal Service risk making the memorial an ephemeral one at best. It is too bad that Congress does not understand the irony in its rush to name Post Offices to honor heroes when it has not taken steps to ensure the survival of the institution whose facilities are used to provide the memorial.
The following charts developed by Noah Veltman shows that the increase in the proportion of laws naming Post Offices is a recent phenomenon. In the 26 years prior to the 106th Congress, Post Office naming bills did not represent more than 5% of the bills passed into law. (The 106th Congress served during the last two years of President Bill Clinton’s 2nd term.)