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Congress passes postal service reform after years of debate

Legislation now heads to President Biden's desk
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Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 21:00:40-05

WASHINGTON — Sometimes you may hate the delays. Other times you may love the cheap prices.

Regardless of your thoughts, the reality is the postal service has been in financial trouble for a while.

According to government figures, for over a decade, the postal service started spending more money than what they brought in.

From 2007 to 2020 there was $87 billion dollars worth of losses and $188 billion in unfunded liabilities, such as future pensions and health benefits.

That has led to questions about whether the postal service can keep delivering at its current levels.

CONGRESS STEPS IN

On Tuesday, Congress officially passed The Postal Service Reform Act. The final Senate vote was 79-19. The House passed the same version earlier this year.

The legislation makes a number of financial moves to save money and ensure the organization can operate long-term.

It requires mail carriers to enroll in Medicare when they become eligible. Currently, they receive costly health plans when they retire.

The legislation also eliminates a mandate that forced the agency to pre-fund retiree health benefits, which postal service leaders told Congress was unfair and costly since most government agencies don't have to do that. Those changes are expected to save around $50 billion.

The bill also requires that deliveries keep running on a 6-day a week schedule after the possibility of cuts emerged.

It also has provisions meant to help local newspapers stay afloat by allowing special, lower rates for the distribution of news.

One of the biggest changes impacting you is a new mandate for the post office to create an online dashboard to show the efficiency of local post offices.

LOOMING CRITICISM

Of course, there remains plenty of those against this legislation.

Some say it doesn't go far enough to reform how letters get delivered nor does it address how the postal service handles controversial mail-in ballots for elections.

Other critics argue Congress needs to stop reforming the post office and start privatizing it.

That's a position former President Trump argued when he was in office.