News & information

Bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act introduced in Senate

Today, Senate Committee Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) and Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act of 2021 (S. 1720), a bill that aims to provide financial and operational stability to the Postal Service. The bill mirrors H.R. 3076, which was introduced by House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) and advanced out of committee last week.

Including Peters and Portman, original cosponsors of the bill include 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans including: Tom Carper (D-DE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Thomas Tillis (R-NC).

With the makeup of the Senate being evenly split 50-50 and legislation needing 60 votes to pass, having 10 original Republican cosponsors is an important accomplishment. If all remaining Democrats support this important legislation, this bill could be signed into law. 

Just like the House bill, S. 1720 would repeal the mandate that the Postal Service pre-fund decades’ worth of health benefits for its future retirees, which was enacted through the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006, embracing the bipartisan USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 695 and S. 145). In addition, the legislation maximizes participation in Medicare once active postal employees (as of January 1, 2023) retire and reach age 65. Annuitants as of January 1, 2023 will be given the choice of whether to remain in the existing FEHBP system or participate in the postal version of the program that requires enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B – and retirees over the age of 65 who have chosen not to enroll in Medicare Part B will be given a one-time opportunity to do so with no late-enrollment penalty. Annuitants who elect to remain in the existing FEHBP will not be required to enroll in Medicare. NALC also successfully lobbied to ensure exceptions to the requirement to enroll in Medicare for those covered under other insurance arrangements (such as the VA) and for those who live in a place where there are not Medicare-participating providers.

S. 1720 also includes language that requires the Postal Service to maintain “integrated” delivery of both mail and packages six days a week. If this bill becomes law, the six-day requirement would be a statutory mandate.  Since 1983, the policy mandate to deliver mail six days a week has had to be renewed annually 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.

“Millions of Americans and Michiganders, including seniors, veterans, and small business owners, rely on the Postal Service to deliver. For decades, the Postal Service has struggled to overcome unfair and burdensome financial requirements that risk its ability to continue providing reliable service in the long run," said Chairman Peters. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation would help put the Postal Service on a sustainable financial footing, ensure it is more transparent and accountable to the American people, and support hardworking postal workers who deliver rain or shine to communities all across the country."

“While its role in American life has changed over the years, the United States Postal Service remains a key part of American life, serving Americans through its delivery of vital medicines, important packages, and other mail,” said Ranking Member Portman. “For that reason, I am proud to join Senator Peters in introducing the Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, which will, when coupled with the Postal Service’s transformative 10-year plan, help turn around the substantial losses at the Postal Service over the last decade and ensure self-sustaining, high-quality postal service for all Americans."

“NALC appreciates Chairman Peters and Ranking Member Portman’s introduction of this important legislation in the Senate,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “NALC recognizes the Senators who have put partisan tensions aside to show strong support for this bipartisan legislation that is crucial to help restore financial and operational stability to the Postal Service.”

Please contact your representatives and Senators and ask them to support this important legislation by becoming a cosponsor and urging immediate House and Senate passage.

To see if your member of Congress is a cosponsor of H.R. 3076, click here.

To see if your Senator is a cosponsor of S. 1720, click here.