Postal service

Biden signs Postal Service reform bill — here’s what it means for your mail

Topline

After years of lost revenue and widely criticized mail delays, President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill that will tackle the US Postal Service’s struggling financial situation and add responsibility for delivering mail to the agency. in time, following overwhelming bipartisan votes on the bill in the House and Senate even as the USPS has become increasingly politicized under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Highlights

Biden signed the Postal Service Reform Act in a ceremony at the White House after it passed the House and Senate in February and March, respectively, garnering significant bipartisan support in both chambers.

The law will restructure the investment the USPS makes in retired employee health plans and add Medicare requirements, which combined are expected to save the USPS more than $50 billion over 10 years, according to the legislators behind the legislation.

This will help “preserve the Post Office’s ability to exist,” said the bill’s sponsor and chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) Forbes in February.

DeJoy has also repeatedly pointed to his poor financial situation to justify changes, including those in 2020 blamed for widespread mail delays.

The legislation requires the USPS to deliver mail six days a week, meaning it cannot cut service in the future, and establishes an online dashboard with weekly mail rate updates. on-time delivery anywhere in the US, increasing transparency so people can easily see if mail is being delayed in their area and by how much.

It could help lawmakers recognize problems in their districts and hold the USPS accountable for improving service, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said at a committee hearing ahead of the bill’s passage. bill by the House, noting that if the mail delivery is “poor…it allows us to be able to fix that problem.

Large number

$4.9 billion. That’s the amount of money the USPS lost in 2021, the agency reported in November, though that’s down from a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2020. agency costs are attributed to a variety of factors beyond the amount of mail actually delivered. the structure of retirement health benefits being the main one.

crucial quote

“Today we enshrine in law our recognition that the Postal Service is fundamental — to our economy, to our democracy, to our health and to our very sense of who we are as a nation,” Biden said Wednesday before speaking out. sign the bill. “This bill recognizes that the Postal Service is a public service, and we are ensuring that it can continue to serve all Americans for generations to come.”

Chief Spokesperson

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) blocked the bill from moving quickly to a vote in mid-February in the Senate, citing concerns about how the bill would affect Medicare funds, and has continued to oppose it before the chamber adopted it in March. . “This bill doesn’t cut costs, it just shifts them,” Scott said, saying that while he supports USPS reform, it “cannot come at the expense of federal taxpayers.” The bill is estimated to save the federal government $1.5 billion over 10 years, and supporters said it would not increase the amount taxpayers pay for Medicare, although Scott said that he was worried about its unclear financial impact after 2031.

Tangent

The USPS law was signed into law six months after DeJoy’s 10-year business plan for the agency took effect, which includes measures that slow delivery of some mail and was heavily criticized by Democrats. This law actually includes Tongue which supports DeJoy’s decision to stop airmail delivery, which has slowed the delivery of some mail. Passing the legislation in concert with DeJoy’s plan was necessary for Republicans to support it, Comer said during a House Rules Committee hearing before the bill passed the House.

Surprising fact

The law also allows the USPS to work with state and local governments to provide non-postal services to Americans, which Maloney says could include things like obtaining hunting, fishing, and fishing licenses. conduct. It would also help rural newspapers by reducing mailing costs.

Key Context

Congress has been trying ever since years to get rid of a regulation requiring the USPS to prefund retiree health benefits, which it first established in 2006 but was a major one donor the agency’s years of financial problems. The legislation passed the House on February 8 in an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 342 to 92 and was passed in the Senate in March after being briefly stalled due to a clerical error when sent by the House and Scott’s objections. It then passed the Senate in a 79-19 bipartisan vote, garnering broad Republican support even beyond the 14 GOP lawmakers who co-sponsored the bill. The law marks a rare recent point of bipartisan agreement regarding the USPS, which has become increasingly politicized under DeJoy. A longtime GOP fundraiser and Trump ally, DeJoy has drawn the ire of Democrats since he took over the agency in the summer of 2020 and pushed through changes that have slowed the mail before the presidential election, when mail-in ballots became a huge problem. House Democrats repeatedly held hearings to question DeJoy and passed legislation in 2020 that directly targeted his actions, which died in the Senate.

Further reading

Here’s how a GOP senator is stopping the Senate from passing a bipartisan Postal Service bill this week (Forbes)

House finally plans to vote on postal reform next week (Executive of Government)

Your USPS Mail Could Be Slower Starting Today – Here’s What to Know (Forbes)

Senators reach bipartisan agreement to overhaul USPS finances and tighten accountability requirements (Washington Post)