In a new op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, highlighted the need for the Senate to pass his bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from becoming insolvent. The legislation will set the United States Postal Service on a more sustainable financial footing and support the goal of providing long-term reliable service across the country. The bill strengthens transparency and accountability for Postal Service performance, eliminates unnecessary financial burdens, and helps ensure the Postal Service can better serve the American people. The Postal Service Reform Act passed the House of Representatives on a strong bipartisan basis and now awaits action in the Senate. Portman has called on the Senate to pass this bill quickly to provide the postal services that small businesses, veterans, and rural Ohioans heavily rely on.
Excerpts of the op-ed can be found below and the full op-ed can be found here.
By Senator Rob Portman
March 5, 2022
The United States Postal Service is in dire need of help.
Last year, Gary Peters and I introduced the Senate version of the Postal Service Reform Act. S.1720 had 26 additional cosponsors equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. Saving the Postal Service is not a partisan issue; it is an issue of importance to all Americans, urban and rural, young and old.
The Postal Service has been struggling financially for years. It has experienced massive losses over the past 15 years, and could face insolvency over the next few years unless changes are made.
The Postal Service Reform Act does three main things:
First, it eliminates the burdensome prefunding requirement for retiree health benefits Congress mandated in 2006 for current employees regardless of age that has crippled the Postal Service financially. The federal government does not prefund retiree health benefits for federal workers, so this will bring the Postal Service in line with the rest of the federal government. This one change is key to the Postal Service getting its fiscal house in order.
Second, it requires future Postal Service retirees, who have been paying into Medicare their entire careers, to enroll in Medicare. This includes Medicare Advantage. They will have options to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans just as other federal employees in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. Currently, about a quarter of postal retirees do not enroll in Medicare even though they are eligible for it. This means the Postal Service is currently paying higher premiums than other public or private sector employers who require Medicare.
Third, it requires the Postal Service to maintain its current standard of six day a week delivery through an integrated delivery network of mail and packages. In doing so, it underscores through a rule of construction that this has no impact on existing rules governing how the Postal Service attributes costs between packages and mail. This makes sure deliveries are done most efficiently and that the private sector will not be subject to unfair competition.
The legislation received strong bipartisan support when it passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-92. Now it is time for the Senate to help put the Postal Service in a position to succeed and provide the services that small businesses, veterans, and rural Ohioans rely on so heavily.