Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Senate Nears Vote on Postal-Service Overhaul After Years of Wrangling

March 3, 2022


WASHINGTON—Less than two years ago, the U.S. Postal Service was embroiled in a political battle between then-President Donald Trump, who called the agency a joke and whose administration had proposed privatizing it, and Democrats who accused him and the postmaster general of trying to sabotage mail-in voting during the 2020 election.

Now, legislation aimed at helping the service become more financially viable has passed the House by an overwhelming majority and is on the verge of clearing the Senate by next week. The reversal of fortune would represent another bipartisan breakthrough after last year’s roughly $1 trillion infrastructure law.

“It was a long, long process,” said House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.), who led negotiations on the bill with Rep. James Comer (R., Ky.), the panel’s top Republican.

The bill, which the White House and postal unions support, would eliminate a requirement that the Postal Service prefund retiree health benefits, saving what the Postal Service projects is $27 billion over 10 years. The bill would also require postal workers to enroll in Medicare when they reach 65 years old—something that Congress said about a quarter of the agency’s workers don’t do. That change would save the Postal Service about $22.6 billion over a 10-year period, the agency estimates. It also would make permanent six-day-a-week delivery, a policy that Congress has put into annual appropriations bills as a bulwark against a conservative drive to force service cuts.

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