Senator Carper stresses need for iPOST

The top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen Tom Carper, has repeated the need for Congress to act on and pass the much needed postal reform legislation (iPOST) in light of the expiration of the court mandated emergency surcharge on USPS rates.

The rate increase was put in place two years ago to help the US national postal operator survive the huge losses that came from the recession. The surcharge has been the only measure that has kept it afloat over the last two years. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projects that USPS will lose $2bn annually due to the lower rates that went into effect on April 10.

Sen Carper said, “The loss of $2 billion a year for the Postal Service is yet another blow to this ailing American institution. The higher rates put into place in the wake of the Great Recession served as a life preserver for the struggling Postal Service, helping it keep its head above water as it attempted to modernize its operations while struggling to adapt to the continued decline in mail volume. Congress has a sworn duty, enshrined in the Constitution, to ensure that the Postal Service is fiscally sustainable and able to provide the American people with reliable mail service. I take this responsibility seriously, which is why I have pushed for nearly a decade for comprehensive postal reform that fixes the problems the Postal Service has been struggling with. Congress, however, has failed to act – choosing instead to kick the can down the road and forcing the Postal Service to limp from crisis to crisis. Yet another financial crisis may now be on the horizon. We can’t wait any longer to act. I call on my colleagues in Congress to come together around the bipartisan reforms I have introduced with Senators Moran, McCaskill, Blunt, and Collins to stabilize the Postal Service’s financial situation and stop the downward spiral before it’s too late.”

USPS currently owes $15bn to the US Treasury and is set to lose tens of billions more due to the unfunded pension and healthcare obligations in the coming years. At the end of Financial Year 2015 it had a net loss of $5.1bn that brought its cumulative financial deficit to $56.8bn according to the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Sen Carper introduced the iPOST Billin September. This bill if passed would offer a compromise solution to the issues that Congress and the UPS have struggled with for years. It would bring about reforms that would put the postal operator on a firm financial footing while stabilising and improving service performance and allow for the development of new products and services. It is a bipartisan bill cosponsored by a number of Republicans as well.

For more information, including a section-by-section summary of the bill and bill text, please