A bipartisan House approved a bill to provide funding for a proposed overhaul of the US Postal Service. This includes measures to relieve the agency of tens of billions of dollars in liabilities. The measure hopes to allow the USPS to finally modernize its system and increase its efficiency.
House Passes Postal Service Reform Act 342-92
The Postal Service Reform Act passed a surprisingly bipartisan House, 342-92. It will now proceed to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will put it to a vote by next week. Both parties remain optimistic for the bill to pass through the Senate as well.
The bill features 27 co-sponsors in the Senate, including 14 Republicans. As such, it now has sufficient numbers to overcome any potential filibusters.
The Postal Service Reform Act is seen as a major breakthrough for the US Postal Service. In addition, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy made the legislation a focal point in his 10-year postal restructuring plan. Previously, the USPS asked Congress to help with its balance sheet for 15 years.
Preservation of the Postal Service
Democrats said that the legislation is crucial to maintaining the US Postal Service’s reach into nearly every American household. At the same time, Republicans say that the bill vindicates DeJoy’s initiatives to make the USPS a more conservative agency.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Carolyn Mahoney (D-NY) is also chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “We need to take steps to make our post office stronger,” she said. Mahoney added that the bill can save taxpayers’ dollars while at the same time making the operations of the post office more financially stable and sustainable. In addition, the bill also makes postal jobs and employee health benefits more secure.
Postal Service To Receive Help Clearing Liabilities in Healthcare Costs
Since 2006, the Postal Service pays its retirees’ health care costs in advance. Back then, mail volume remained steady as the agency stood profitable. However, declining use in mail turned the agency into a bleeding institution. Now, the pre-funding requirement eats up $152.8 billion of its $206.4 billion in liabilities.
The Postal Service Reform Act will wipe $57 billion of the Postal Service’s liabilities. In addition, the bill will also save the agency another $50 billion over the next ten years. The bill will also require new timely delivery transparency requirements. It also allows the agency to contract with local, state, and Indigenous governments. These agencies can help provide basic non-postal services, such as hunting and fishing licenses.
Republicans On Board with Postal Reform
Meanwhile, Representative James Corner (R-KY), the top GOP member on the House Oversight Committee, also gave his support. “Congress just doesn’t want to put a Band-Aid on the post office. We want to try to have a permanent solution to the post office, and that all predicates on having a reform plan. The former postmaster general never did come up with a reform plan,” he added. “Now we have Louis DeJoy. He came up with a reform plan. As evidenced by the support for this bill from Democrats, these reforms are working,” he added.
Previously, Democrats expressed their disdain for DeJoy. The Postmaster General’s past fundraising activities for former president Donald Trump didn’t help. As a result, Democrats accused DeJoy of hampering the USPS’s collection of mailed ballots during the 2020 presidential election. Now, it seems all parties are on the same page. “This was an agreement bill,” Maloney said. “From Day One, we could have passed a bill with just Democratic votes, but it would have been dead in the Senate.”
Do you agree with the bipartisan bill to infuse funding to help the United States Postal Service? Will this ultimately help improve the agency’s services?
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