Congress Takes Another Significant Step Toward Finally Making Postal Reform Law
Both parties and both chambers see eye to eye on the bill, marking a major development on the path to passing postal legislation, something Congress has tried and failed to accomplish for a decade.
A group of senators on Wednesday evening introduced legislation to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service, matching a reform bill that has already gained momentum in the House.
The measure has significant bipartisan backing, with 10 Democratic and 10 Republican senators lending their names to it. Both parties and both chambers see eye to eye on the bill, marking a major development on the path to finally passing postal legislation, something Congress has tried and failed to accomplish for a decade. Previous iterations of postal reform have foundered after the House and Senate failed to come together on a unified vision. The House Oversight and Reform Committee passed the bill last week.
“This commonsense, bipartisan legislation would help put the Postal Service on a sustainable financial footing, ensure it is more transparent and accountable to the American people, and support hardworking postal workers who deliver rain or shine to communities all across the country,” said Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and introduced the bill.
Like his colleagues in the House, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the top Republican on Peters' committee, said the bill would bring success to USPS only when coupled with a 10-year business plan unveiled earlier this year by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. That plan, which calls for slower delivery for some mail and a consolidation of some postal facilities, has received pushback from congressional Democrats. House Republicans successfully fought to amend a draft version of the bill originally introduced by Democrats to ease the implementation of DeJoy’s proposals, while Oversight Committee Democrats also advanced a separate, much more aggressive bill to restrict DeJoy that did not receive any Republican support.
The core of the bill will shift more postal retirees to Medicare for their health care and require most postal workers to select postal-specific health care plans. It would take onerous payments toward health care benefits for future retirees off the agency’s balance sheets.
Additionally, the bill would allow USPS to provide non-postal services, including for state governments and other federal agencies, and it would include a six-day delivery mandate, which DeJoy has already said he plans to maintain. Postal management would face a new requirement to update the White House, Congress and its regulator every six months on its financial state, volume, implementation of changes, investments into its network and performance. It would also have to create new annual performance targets with a public website for tracking results.