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Bipartisan postal reform legislation introduced and advances in House

The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 3076), a bipartisan bill that aims to provide financial and operational stability to the Postal Service, was introduced by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) on May 11.

Today, H.R. 3076 advanced out of committee on a voice vote with no amendments. The legislation addresses two of NALC’s top priorities:

Because they have jurisdiction over the Medicare program, the bill will be referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for possible amendments before it can be debated by the entire House of Representatives. As we digest the language and work with these committees, NALC will provide more updates for members in the future.

H.R. 3076 also includes language that requires the Postal Service to maintain an “integrated” network of both mail and packages six days a week. If this bill becomes law, USPS will be required to maintain six-days-a-week mail delivery. Since 1983, the mandate to deliver mail six days a week has required yearly renewal in the appropriations process. This bill would eliminate the need for the annual fight to maintain this mandate.

In addition, the bill: requires the Postal Service to provide semi-annual reports to Congress on the implementation of its 10-year strategic plan; provides for a public dashboard using nationwide delivery metrics to track delivery performance; directs the Postal Service to use the most efficient means to transport mail, likely moving from air to ground; mandates a Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) review of competitive and non-competitive products and a study of nationwide processing efficiency of flats (magazines and catalogs); provides the PRC with independent budget authority through the Postal Fund, preventing it from being directly impacted by sequestration/shutdowns; provides a special postage discount for newspapers; and consolidates the Postal Service’s and the PRC’s Inspectors General into a single office.

“This landmark legislation will make foundational reforms and add transparency to ensure the Postal Service provides the high quality of service Americans expect and deserve,” said Chairwoman Maloney. “Ultimately, this bill will preserve and strengthen the Postal Service, one of our nation’s most vital and respected institutions.”

“The American people rely on the U.S. Postal Service for everything from bills to receiving prescriptions to staying in touch with their families,” said Ranking Member Comer. “The Postal Service Reform Act, coupled with Postmaster General DeJoy’s business reform plan, will help put USPS on the road to fiscal stability, and make it more efficient and sustainable for generations, and ensure continued service to the American people.”

Recognizing that members of Congress had priorities that would not be addressed in the underlying bill, Chairwoman Maloney also introduced a secondary measure, the Postal Service Improvement Act (H.R. 3077), which was also considered and advanced out of committee today. This second bill includes a variety of provisions, including: ballot tracking measures for votes cast by mail; paid parental leave for postal employees; Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) rights for managers and supervisors; an $8 billion appropriation for the Postal Service to electrify 75 percent of its vehicle fleet and to build charging stations at postal facilities;  a requirement that the Postal Service maintain January 2021 service standards on first-class mail; a pilot program to study using postal employees to conduct the Census;  and a measure to allow members of Congress to inspect postal facilities at their discretion. However, many of these provisions may lack the broad bipartisan support necessary to become law.

While H.R. 3076 has bipartisan support, that alone will not be enough to see it through to the President’s desk. But it is a good start. Currently, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chair Gary Peters (D-MI) and Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH) are beginning discussions on a Senate companion bill.

As the legislation progresses in the House and Senate, NALC will need the full engagement of letter carriers to help educate members of Congress on how this legislation will protect employees and our essential network. Keep an eye out for more information here and on the NALC Member App. Members are encouraged to install the app on their smartphones to receive updates when legislation is released and when it moves in the halls of Congress.