The Senate on Tuesday, by a 79-19 vote, passed a sweeping reform of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to eliminate much of its debt and restructure some of its operations.
The bill, which was ten years in the making, is the first major overhaul of the mailing agency in more than 15 years after more than a decade of billion-dollar losses.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy supports the bill, as do postal unions and associations, who say it will address USPS’s long-term financial challenges.
“I thank the Senate and our committee leadership that broke the 10-year logjam which has long constrained the finances of the Postal Service,” DeJoy said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation would give USPS a “much-needed reset” and relief from an unsustainable business model.
“Because of today’s bill, the Postal Service will be stronger, more efficient and better able to serve more people, and we did it on a bipartisan basis,” Schumer said.
The bill will save USPS $50 billion over the next ten years by eliminating a provision from the 2006 law that required USPS to pre-fund retiree health benefits well into the future. USPS, under the legislation, will instead return to an annual pay-as-you-go system to fund retiree health benefits.
The measure will also allow USPS to provide non-postal services, including for state governments and other federal agencies. It also includes a six-day delivery mandate, which DeJoy has already said he plans to maintain. Postal management will face a new requirement to update the White House, Congress and its regulator every six months on its financial state, volume, implementation of changes, investments into its network and performance. It will also have to create new annual performance targets with a public website for tracking results.
The bill now heads to the White House, where President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law.