Growing up, many of us heard the unofficial credo of the United States Postal Service:
Neither the snow, nor the rain, nor the heat, nor the darkness of the night prevent these couriers from quickly completing their appointed rounds.
Unfortunately, this promise of quality service has not materialized for years, through no fault of our postal staff. Congress neglected the Postal Service for decades, and it shows.
Fortunately, while there are many things that divide us, Democrats and Republicans from all different ZIP Codes came together, did our job, and passed the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act.
One of the most important responsibilities I have to my constituents is to be their advocate in resolving the issues they face when working with federal agencies. The concern I hear most often is the inconsistency of mail service, which they depend on for everything from social security checks to lifesaving medications to running a small business. And while we do our best to address each voter’s individual case, it’s been clear for some time that there are systemic issues with the Postal Service that Congress needed to address with larger-scale reform.
I’ve heard of residents sending simple cards to a family member a few towns away and it took over two weeks for delivery. There are voters whose mail has been lost or delayed, with no clear answer available as to whereabouts.
Since before the American Revolution, our postal service has been a source of pride. However, Congress has consistently failed to support this essential institution. In 2021, the USPS marked its 15th consecutive year of financial losses with a net loss of $4.9 billion, largely due to overly burdensome federal regulations that require pre-funding of retirement benefits at age 75 at the age of 75. advance. The Postal Service receives no direct funds from taxpayers, relying solely on revenue from stamps and other fees.
This bipartisan bill provides immediate financial and regulatory relief to the USPS to ensure it has the tools necessary to meet the high standards my constituents expect and deserve. It requires the USPS to deliver mail and packages six days a week and give it the resources to clear mail backlogs quickly. It restores the next day delivery service standards that people have relied on to ensure mail is delivered on time. It also requires the USPS to establish an online customer portal where voters can track scheduled deliveries and see real-time schedule reports to restore consumer confidence.
The significant savings from the bill will allow the USPS to shift more than $50 billion in administrative costs over 10 years to support delivery services and invest in modernization.
The Postal Service Reform Act will be the first step in ensuring that the USPS remains a viable and financially solvent American institution.
Unlike any other public entity or private company, the USPS is currently legally required to prepay 75 years of pensions. This onerous requirement prevents the agency from investing in its workforce while doing nothing to benefit the retirees it is supposed to help. As a result, cuts have been made to personnel and equipment, which means the quality of service the USPS can provide has plummeted, despite the best efforts of its workforce. This bipartisan legislation will align pension funding requirements to match similarly sized entities and allow the pension fund to remain solvent while freeing up billions of dollars to improve delivery services.
The postal service is a fundamental institution of this nation. It’s the only delivery service provider that reaches every US home, regardless of geography, at consistent prices and quality. As the nation’s third-largest civilian employer, the USPS provides good union jobs to more than 600,000 Americans, including nearly 100,000 veterans. For two years now, our postal workers have been making their rounds on the front lines of a pandemic and putting themselves at risk to ensure we can still receive deliveries of essential goods and services.
I want to make sure that the men and women of the United States Postal Service, who have played a central role in our country’s history, have the resources they need to do their jobs with dignity and can take their retire with their hard-earned benefits.
With President Joe Biden’s signature, you can count on critical reform to be achieved.
Representative Mikie Sherrill represents New Jersey’s 11th congressional district, which encompasses parts of Morris, Essex, Passaic and Sussex counties.