Congress approves bill to strengthen the Postal Service and delivery

The Senate voted 79-19 in favor of submitting the bill to President Joe Biden for his signature.

Congress approves bill to strengthen the Postal Service and delivery

WASHINGTON -- Congress passed Tuesday legislation to strengthen the U.S. Postal Service to ensure that mail is delivered six days a week. President Joe Biden was sent the bill for him to sign.

This long-awaited postal overhaul was years in the making. It comes amid widespread complaints about slow mail services. Many Americans were dependent on the Postal Service in the Covid-19 crisis. Officials have warned repeatedly that it will run out of cash without Congress' help by 2024.


 

"The post office delivers for us most of the time, but today, we're going deliver for them," stated Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader.

Rare bipartisan support was found by Congress for the Postal Service package. Some of the most controversial proposals were dropped to settle on the core issues that will save the service and ensure its continued operation. The House approved the bill last month, 342-92. All Democrats and most Republicans voted for it. The Senate sent the bill to Biden on Tuesday with a vote of 79-19.

Republican Senator Jerry Moran stated that the Postal Service is in a "death spiral", which has been particularly detrimental to rural Americans in Kansas. He said that post offices have been closed and services cut. He said that smart reforms were required.

The Postal Service Reform Act would eliminate unusual budget requirements that contribute to red ink. It would also establish in law the requirement for mail delivery six days a weeks, with the exception of federal holidays and natural disasters.

The Postal Service was supposed to be supported by mail sales and other services, but it has lost 14 consecutive years. The red ink has been caused by rising worker compensation and benefits costs as well as steady declines of mail volume. This is despite the fact that the Postal Service still delivers to over 1 million locations each year.

The bill would eliminate a requirement that the Postal Service fund workers' health insurance benefits prior to time for the next 75 year. This obligation is not faced by private companies or federal agencies.

Instead, the Postal Service will require future retirees enroll in Medicare. It would also pay current retirees actual health care costs not covered by the federal program for seniors.

Ideas to reduce mail delivery have been discarded as they are politically poisonous. Other proposals to improve postal operations, such as privatizing certain services, have also been discarded.

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) reminded his colleagues about the origins and importance of the postal service to the United States. It was established as a way for the country to unify its young nation and continues to deliver letters, cards and other goods to American homes.

Voters depend on the Post Office to deliver prescription drugs, government checks, and other goods that were purchased online. However, the Postal Service will ultimately deliver these items to their mailboxes.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), was the chief architect of this bill. Portman stated that the bill is not a bailout and that no new funding will be going to the agency.

The Postal Service was the subject of harsh criticism in 2020, before the presidential election. Service was delayed due to cutbacks at a time that millions of Americans relied on mail-in ballots during Covid-19's first year.

Donald Trump admitted at the time that he wanted to deprive the Postal Service money in order to make it more difficult to process the expected surge in mail-in ballots. He was concerned about losing the election.

Trump appointees dominated the agency's board, who appointed Louis DeJoy as its new postmaster general. He proposed a 10-year plan for stabilizing the service's finances, including additional mail slowdowns and cutting down on office hours.

The bill would require the Postal Service to create an online "dashboard" to measure its progress in improving its service. It would allow users to search by ZIP code to see how long it takes for them to deliver letters or packages.

Biden, the Postal Service and postal worker unions support Congress's approval of legislation.

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