The United States Postal Service swore in Megan Brennan as the new Postmaster General on Monday, Feb. 1, 2015. In a letter to employees, Brennan, cited the momentum the organization is experiencing as an opportunity to create change. She reinforced, however, the need to “reorient” the business strategies to meet the “demands of tomorrow’s workplace.” (Link to letter: http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2015/pr15_009pmgltr.pdf)
President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposes reforms for the postal service that Congress must ultimately decide to address. In response to the proposal, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Ranking Senator Carper (D-DE) applauded the postal provisions and reiterated his desire to make comprehensive postal reform a priority for his committee. A summary of the administration’s USPS provisions include:
The administration’s fiscal year 2016 budget includes the following postal provisions:
Refunds the Postal Service the projected Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) overpayment, over a two-year period. Currently, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) projects the surplus to be $1.5 billion. (Last year, the surplus was projected to be $5 billion.)
Recalculates the Postal Service retiree health liability and restructure its payments. The Postal Service would defer the 2015 and 2016 retiree pre-funding payments until 2017 and roll them into a 40-year amortization schedule for the entire USPS retiree liability. This deferment would provide the USPS with $13 billion of relief over the next two years.
Provides the Postal Service with the authority to reduce mail frequency from six days to five days, if mail volume falls below 140 billion pieces for four consecutive quarters. The budget assumes that this threshold will be reached in 2018.
Authorizes increased Postal Service collaboration with state and local governments.
Permits the Postal Service to convert door deliveries to curbside and centralized delivery, and codify POSTPlan.
Extends the 4.3% exigent postage rate increase permanently, rather than ending it in January 2016.
Postal Reform Legislation
In Congress, comprehensive postal reform legislation has not been introduced. However, three House Resolutions related to returning to service delivery standards, continuing six-day mail delivery service and door delivery for business and residential customers have been introduced in this new Congress.
The measures are described below.
H.Res.54 – Introduced by Rep. Dave McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) on Jan. 27, 2015. The measure expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to restore the service standards that were in effect as of July 1, 2012.
H. Res. 28 – Introduced by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) on Jan. 12, 2015.
The resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of door delivery for all business and residential customers.
H.Res. 12 – Introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) on Jan. 6, 2015. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) is a co-sponsor.
The resolution urges the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its six-day mail delivery service.