The Senate enacted comprehensive bipartisan legislation on Tuesday that would reform the United States Postal Service’s budget and enable the agency to modernize its operations in the process.
The final vote was 79-19, which was highly nonpartisan. The measure must now pass through the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.
This bill, which passed the House last month by a vote of 342-92, would compel retired postal workers to enroll in Medicare when they become eligible while repealing a prior provision that required the service to fund its health-care expenses years in advance of when they were eligible. According to the House Oversight Committee, these two reforms would save the United States Postal Service almost $50 billion over the next decade. The measure would also force the United States Postal Service to develop an online dashboard that would provide statistics on local and national delivery times.
During a press conference before the vote on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that postal reform would be “signed, sealed, and delivered for the American people if the Act succeeds.”
According to Schumer, “we all know that when the post office is forced to curtail hours of operation or delivery routes or lay off employees, the rest of us suffer.” Thanks to their cooperation and good faith, Democrats and Republicans have been working together on some of the most challenging elements of the Postal Service for several months now.
The Postal Service, which was established in 1775 to encourage the free exchange of ideas across the colonies, is one of the country’s oldest government institutions. However, it operates with only a fraction of the financial benefits of being a federal agency while still bearing the majority of the costs.
In contrast to other government organizations, the United States Postal Service (USPS) does not receive public financing. Instead, it relies on income from stamps and packages delivery to sustain its operations.
And, unlike private courier services such as UPS and FedEx, the United States Postal Service (USPS) cannot eliminate unprofitable routes because Congress mandates that the Postal Service delivered to all homes in the United States — including a remote community in the Grand Canyon where mule provides mail. Pricing for the United States Postal Service must be authorized by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent government organization.