WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, reiterated the need for Congress to act and pass much needed postal reform legislation, particularly in light of the expiration of the court-mandated emergency surcharge on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) rates. This rate increase, put in place over two years ago to help USPS survive catastrophic losses stemming from the Great Recession, has been the only measure keeping the Postal Service from financial collapse over the last two years. The USPS and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) project that the Postal Service will lose $2 billion annually due to the lower rates, which went into effect yesterday on April 10, 2016.
“The loss of $2 billion a year for the Postal Service is yet another blow to this ailing American institution,” said Senator Carper. “The higher rates put into place in the wake of the Great Recession served as a life preserver for the struggling Postal Service, helping it keep its head above water as it attempted to modernize its operations while struggling to adapt to the continued decline in mail volume. Congress has a sworn duty, enshrined in the Constitution, to ensure that the Postal Service is fiscally sustainable and able to provide the American people with reliable mail service. I take this responsibility seriously, which is why I have pushed for nearly a decade for comprehensive postal reform that fixes the problems the Postal Service has been struggling with. Congress, however, has failed to act – choosing instead to kick the can down the road and forcing the Postal Service to limp from crisis to crisis. Yet another financial crisis may now be on the horizon. We can’t wait any longer to act. I call on my colleagues in Congress to come together around the bipartisan reforms I have introduced with Senators Moran, McCaskill, Blunt, and Collins to stabilize the Postal Service’s financial situation and stop the downward spiral before it’s too late.”
The Postal Service’s financial condition has been deteriorating for years, leading to unpopular cuts in service and preventing investments in infrastructure and technology that could improve customer service and make the Postal Service more competitive in growing lines of business like package delivery. The 2008 economic downturn and the continuing transition to digital communications and commerce have also hastened its downward spiral. The Postal Service currently owes $15 billion on its line of credit with the U.S. Treasury and faces tens of billions of dollars more in unfunded pension and health care obligations in the years to come. It ended fiscal year 2015 with a net loss of $5.1 billion, bringing its cumulative deficit since fiscal year 2007 to $56.8 billion, according to the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Senator Carper introduced the Improving Postal Operations, Service, and Transparency Act of 2015, in September. iPOST reflects the views of a broad range of stakeholders and offers a compromise solution to the difficult issues that Congress and the Postal Service have struggled with for years. The bill includes a comprehensive package of reforms that would place the Postal Service on firm financial footing, stabilize and improve service performance, allow for the development of new products and services, and enhance transparency. The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Last week, the White House also called on Congress to act and pass this critical reform legislation in order to “maintain the high-preforming and self-sufficient Postal Service that the American people deserve.”
For more information, including a section-by-section summary of the bill and bill text, please visit:www.carper.senate.gov/postalreform