Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed the Postal Service Reform Act (H.R.3076) The vote had overwhelming bipartisan support.
“The U.S. Postal Service is a lifeline to Coloradans, rural and urban alike,” said Senator John Hickenlooper, who celebrated the passage with a video. “Modernizing USPS will ensure mail is on time for generations to come. That has our stamp of approval!”
It is intended to address “the finances and operations of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)”, specifically to lift budget requirements imposed on the Service by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act and require it to continue six-day a week delivery of mail. The act provides a $107 billion overhaul of the struggling federal agency, aiming to cut costs and bring more efficiency to the service depended upon by all 330 million Americans.
“Senate passage of the Postal Service Reform Act will provide USPS with financial stability to support more reliable delivery and service, especially in Colorado’s mountain and rural communities,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “Coloradans depend on the Postal Service to receive their prescriptions and Social Security checks, connect with loved ones, and cast their ballots. Senate passage of the Postal Service Reform Act will provide USPS with financial stability to support more reliable delivery and service, especially in Colorado’s mountain and rural communities.”
The past few years have been rocky ones for the United States Postal Service; it has endured cuts to its services as its director applied “business” efficiency to a national service that added more than 10 million service points in the past decade, with no attending budget adjustments. It was blamed for delays in delivery of first-class mail, and struggled against private competitors even as the COVID-19 pandemic ground through the country. It was attacked by no less than former President Donald Trump during the months prior to the 2020 election.
While metropolitan folks may have other alternatives, in rural areas residents depend upon the Post Office to deliver not just greetings and bills, but medicines and social security checks.
The act provides a $107 billion overhaul of the struggling federal agency. Among the key provisions of the bill:
- Requires the postal service to maintain its standard 6-day a week delivery
- Requires the agency to create an online dashboard to track national delivery times
- Allows the agency to contract with state, local and tribal leaders and governments to offer non-mail services such as hunting and fishing licenses
- Requires future agency retirees to enroll in Medicare, which is expected to save around $22.7 billion over the next decade
- Eliminates a 2006 requirement — to pre-fund health benefits for its employees, which is expected to save the agency around $27 billion in the next decade
The bill will also give the agency a major reprieve: it eliminates $57 billion in past-due postal liabilities and $50 billion in payments for the next decade, including the need to prepay the retirements of current and future postal workers, something that is not required of any other federal agency.
The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature.