COLUMBUS — Supporters of the U.S. Postal Service are pressing for passage of a bill to shore up the troubled agency.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) co-sponsored the Senate version of the bipartisan 2021 Postal Reform bill, which is currently in committee.
John McHugh, a former New York congressman and Secretary of the Army, serves as president of the Package Coalition – a group of businesses including Amazon and EBay, that rely on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their goods.
He said the bill allows the Postal Service to restructure its pension obligations without cutting benefits to current retirees.
"That'll give them the opportunity to right the ship, from a budgetary perspective," McHugh said. "To make those critically important overdue investments into their infrastructure, their truck fleet, into the kinds of things that will help them become more efficient, more effective and more affordable."
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy supports the reform bill and has proposed a ten-year plan that would put the agency on a stronger footing by emphasizing the more-profitable package delivery business.
The House version of the legislation also is in committee.
Dylan John, director of policy with the National Retail Federation, said the long-term viability and survival of the Post Office is crucial for retail businesses, especially with the growth of e-commerce sparked by the pandemic.
He explained that the bill also would codify into law the Monday-through-Saturday integrated delivery network.
"Basically, Postal Service trucks delivering both mail and packages together as opposed to separating those two,'" John said. "So it's just more of an efficient and cost-friendly way to operate for the Postal Service and the people who use them."
McHugh said if the Postal Service is forced to raise prices, private package carriers would benefit. He noted that UPS has gone to court in the past to challenge the Postal Service's rates.
"There are those," McHugh said, "particularly private express carriers, that compete against the Postal Service who would like to see the Postal Service become less efficient, so that they can increase their prices."
The 2021 Postal Reform bill reportedly would create nearly $50 billion in savings for the Postal Service over the next decade.