A long-awaited reform bill that would save the United States Postal Service about $50 billion over the next decade took a major step forward in Congress.
The House on Tuesday, in a 342-92 vote, passed the Postal Service Reform Act.
If approved by the Senate, the bill would be the first major piece of postal reform legislation to make it through Congress in more than 15 years and would address issues that stem from the last reform effort lawmakers passed in 2006.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who introduced the bill, said the legislation has more than 100 co-sponsors, almost evenly split between House Democrats and Republicans.
“This bill is an agreement to fix some of the serious problems that have been looming over the post office for years and threatening its financial stability,” Maloney said.
The bill has support from more than 200 organizations, including postal unions.
Committee Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said the legislation “bolsters Postal Service-led operational reforms that are already showing success with better revenue and delivery performance.”
“This targeted bill addresses the immediate needs of the Postal Service to help it succeed into the 21st century,” Comer said.
The legislation, like many other similar bills introduced in previous sessions of Congress, would eliminate a 2006 mandate for USPS to pre-fund retiree health benefits well into the future.
USPS expects eliminating this mandate would save the agency roughly $27 billion over ten years.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who introduced companion legislation, said the reform bill now has 14 Democratic and 14 Republican cosponsors in the Senate.
“Given the significant, bipartisan support for the same bill in the Senate, I expect to move quickly to vote on these critical reforms that will help ensure the Postal Service’s long-term success,” Peters said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday’s vote reflects postal reform efforts in Congress that have been “decades in the making.”
“The Postal Service will be better. Postal workers will be better, and the American community that utilizes and relies on the Postal Service will have greater security and greater service,” Hoyer said.
House and Senate lawmakers have introduced similar postal reform bills in previous sessions of Congress, but few have made it this far.