WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Senate late Wednesday unanimously approved legislation authored by Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) that will lower Postal Service costs and postpone further postal rate increases until at least 2006.
“Postal rates have risen three times in the past two years,” Collins said. “Another increase – especially one that we know can be prevented – is just what our recovering economy does not need.”
The bill, S. 380, the Postal Civil Service System Retirement Systems Funding Reform Act of 2003, will correct statutory requirements that have resulted in the Postal Service over-funding its retirement account by billions of dollars. Without this legislation, the Postal Service would over-pay its retirement account by $78 billion over the next 60 years. According to Post Master General Jack Potter, enactment of the bill will reduce the Postal Service’s debt by about $3 billion in fiscal year 2003 and will delay the need for additional postal rate increases until 2006 at the earliest. Without the legislation, Postal officials say they would need to increase prices again next year.
“Holding down postal rates will give a significant boost to the $900-billion-a-year mailing industry without hurting current or future retirees,” Collins said.
The legislation has received wide support in Congress and from the mailing industry, including the Postal Service, postal employee organizations, and more than 100 companies and organizations that employ 9 billion workers. The House is scheduled to consider an identical bill next week.