The U.S. Postal Service is once again seeking to raise its rates by historically unusual amounts, announcing the increases on the same day President Biden signed into law a bipartisan bill to erase much of the agency’s debts and allow it to pursue new lines of revenue.
The Senate approved the 2021 Postal Reform Act last month, but it took several weeks to get the measure to the White House for the president’s signature. The measure will require most postal workers to enroll in USPS-specific health care plans, shift most retirees to Medicare, take onerous payments toward health care benefits for future retirees off the agency’s balance sheets, allow USPS to provide some non-postal services and create new oversight and transparency requirements. Some stakeholders had hoped the financial relief from the bill would allow USPS to take a less aggressive approach to pricing, but postal management declined to do so.
“The requirement of that law stretched the Postal Service’s finances almost to the breaking point,” Biden said at a White House signing ceremony on Wednesday.