You May Soon Have a Longer Walk to Get Your Mail


A House committee on Wednesday passed a piecemeal provision of U.S. Postal Service reform, voting along party lines to phase out to-the-door delivery in favor of centralized and curbside drop offs.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., introduced the Secure Delivery for America Act earlier this week in an effort to find immediate cost savings for the Postal Service while Congress continues to debate a larger overhaul. Issa estimated the measure would save USPS more than $2 billion annually.

The bill would convert 1.5 million of the 37.7 million addresses currently receiving to-the-door delivery to centralized or curbside delivery annually for the next 10 years. This would ultimately result in a 40 percent reduction in households that receive their mail at their doors. Currently, slightly more than one quarter of addresses receive door delivery.

The Postal Service would assume the full conversion costs, which Issa estimated would add up to about $73 per address. The savings would allow USPS to recoup its full installation costs after just five months, Issa said. He added the new system -- in which every address would have its own secure box grouped together in a central location -- would provide safer delivery than simply leaving packages on a stoop.

When the Postal Service identified an address for conversion, it would have to provide 60 days’ notice to the customer. Residents could then file a hardship waiver for exemption if they possess a disability that would make it difficult for them to travel to a separate location for picking up their mail.

Issa said his bill represented a “common-sense way to help the Postal Service save money,” but stressed the measure was not a replacement for comprehensive legislation. He did intimate, however, the provision would provide an opportunity for both parties and chambers of Congress to address postal concerns through a conference committee.

Democrats opposed the measure, repeating the claim they have made throughout the series of postal hearings and markups this Congress that USPS “cannot cut its way to profitability.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said the bill would place an unfair burden on residents of urban areas, where the vast majority of to-the-door delivery still takes place. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., criticized a provision of the bill that would allow residents chosen for conversion to pay a fee to continue to receive to-the-door service, calling it a “delivery tax.” Lynch also pointed to a Government Accountability Office report that found some of the data Issa used for his underlying cost savings estimates may be outdated.

Postal unions said the measure would be detrimental to business. Louis Atkins, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, said the up-front costs associated with making the transition would “drag down the Postal Service’s finances further.”

Issa acknowledged some households may never be ripe for conversion, but defended the fee for delivery as a revenue opportunity for the cash-strapped Postal Service. The Democrats attempted to attach union-backed amendments to the bill, such as guaranteed six-day mail delivery and a return of the surplus payments made to the Federal Employees Retirement System, but they were defeated.

(Image via Vlue/

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.