Protecting the Postal Service
Americans and businesses around the country depend on a reliable Postal Service. This is especially true for rural areas and seniors, who count on six-day service and door-to-door service for their mail and prescription medications.
Congressman DeFazio has long history of pushing back against proposed cuts to the USPS and working to improve this essential service.
USPS Fairness Act
In 2006, Congress passed a law to require the USPS to prefund 75 years worth of retiree health benefits in the span of ten years—a cost of approximately $110 billion. Although the money is intended to be set aside for future Post Office retirees, the funds are instead being diverted to help pay down the national debt.
No other private enterprise or federal agency is required to prefund retiree health benefits on a comparable timetable. The mandate is responsible for all of USPS’s financial losses since 2013.
Congressman DeFazio introduced the USPS Fairness Act to provide the United States Postal Service (USPS) with much-needed financial relief by eliminating the pre-funding mandate. By eliminating the prefunding mandate, the USPS would instead be able to invest in its operations while maintaining its annual commitment to current and future retirees, like every other federal agency.
On February 5, 2020, the House of Representatives decisively passed the USPS Fairness Act by a vote of 309 to 106, with 87 Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
While the legislation is still awaiting action in the Republican-controlled Senate, the Senate bill is cosponsored by 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats.
Comprehensive Postal Reform
For years, Congress has needed to enact comprehensive postal reform, and for years Congress has failed. Congressman DeFazio, however, has continued to push for comprehensive reform that will sustain the postal service, advert unnecessary closures that hurt rural communities, and save American jobs.
In 2013, Congressman DeFazio introduced HR 630, Postal Service Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation would:
- Fix the immediate fiscal problem of the Postal Service by ending the pre-funding mandate and allowing the Postal Service to recover pension overpayments.
- Protect 6-day delivery. This bill would establish a permanent legislative requirement that USPS deliver mail on Saturdays. USPS recently announced that it will be eliminating Saturday mail delivery beginning in August. Cutting six-day delivery is not a viable plan for the future. Providing fewer services and less quality will cause more customers to seek other options. Rural Americans, businesses, senior citizens and veterans will be hurt the most by ending Saturday mail.
- Ensure the timely delivery of mail and protect mail-processing facilities. The bill would re-establish overnight delivery standards for delivering first class mail which would ensure the timely delivery of mail, keep mail processing facilities open, and protect jobs.
- Protecting Rural Post Offices. This bill would give the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) binding authority to prevent post offices from being closed based on the effect on the community and the effect on the employees. Right now, the Postal Regulatory Commission only has the authority to review a decision to close, but it does not have any binding authority to prevent the closure, even if it finds it was flawed.
- Provide USPS More Pricing Flexibility in Setting Postal Rates. The bill would eliminate the current rate increase limitation that ties yearly increases to CPI. This move would allow USPS some pricing flexibility to react to changing circumstances and decreased volume while maintaining current service levels.
- Establish new ways the Postal Service can generate revenue, by ending the prohibition on providing new products and services, such as:
- Providing notary services, new media services, issuance of licenses (drivers licenses, hunting licenses, fishing licenses);
- Contracting with state and local agencies to provide new services;
- Shipping wine and beer; and
- Doing what some other countries are doing to respond to the shift toward electronic mail and away from hard-copy mail.
This bill would also create an entrepreneurial commission composed of successful business innovators, representatives of labor, and small businesses that would provide recommendations on how the Postal Service can generate new revenue to succeed in the 21st century.
More on Protecting the Postal Service
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chair Mark Takano (CA-41), along with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Alma Adams (NC-12), today urged Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie and United States Postmaster General (USPMG) Louis DeJoy to rectify reported delayed deliveries of medication to veterans in the wake of operational changes at the United States Postal Service (USPS).
In a letter, the members write:
In the wake of newly-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s “Friday Night Massacre” at the United States Postal Service (USPS), Congressman Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04) and Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12) are calling on him to resign or be removed immediately.
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04) Tuesday led 130 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi requesting strong support for the United States Postal Service in forthcoming COVID-19 relief legislation.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Alma Adams (NC-12) Wednesday sent a letter to the new Postmaster General (PMG) Louis DeJoy blasting his suggested changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS) that could dramatically degrade service across the country.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Reed (NY-23), Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and Torres Small (NM-02) this week introduced bipartisan legislation, the USPS Fairness Act, to end the unfair pre-funding mandate for the United States Postal Service (USPS), solving the most pressing financial problem facing the agency.
WASHINGTON, DC-- U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) responded to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) announcement that they will move forward on a plan to close processing facilities, including the Springfield-Gateway, Bend, Pendleton, and Salem processing centers.
Following are DeFazio's remarks:
Over 20 Oregon post offices taken off the closure list