House bill

USPS would face tougher climb to raise rates under new House bill

Biannual increases in postage rates could be halted if a bill introduced in the House becomes law.

Representative Gerry Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, authored the “Accurate Postal Rate Guarantee Act,” a measure requiring the Independent Postal Regulatory Commission to review the power of the U.S. Postal Service to raise rates twice per year and above the rate of inflation. He presented the measure on Friday.

On July 10, the USPS raised the one-ounce first-class mail rate from 58 cents to 60 cents, and said rate increases will occur more frequently. In August, the agency announced it would implement “temporary rate adjustments” for commercial and retail shippers of “key commodities” for the 2022 holiday season, similar to previous years.

In February, President Biden signed legislation ending a years-long requirement that the quasi-governmental corporation pre-fund retiree health benefits and eliminate existing debt for those payments. In August, the USPS reported net income of $59.7 billion for its fiscal third quarter, attributing the change to the Postal Service Reform Act.

“The Postal Service’s new economic image warrants a re-examination of the Postal Service’s power to rapidly increase the cost of its products and services to ensure that all individuals, families and businesses can access postal services at a fair price,” he said. said Mr. Connolly. by email.

A USPS spokesperson told The Washington Times that the agency was “reviewing the bill” but said it did not believe the measure was necessary. In a recent interview with Government Executive magazine, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said raising rates for large mailers is essential.

“Boy, I wish I was Mr. Great Guy who didn’t raise prices and change nothing, but all of a sudden the place was profitable,” said Mr. DeJoy, who has been appointed to his post in 2020, the publication said. “It doesn’t happen that way. This does not happen without bringing change.

Along with Mr. Connolly, a shipper advocacy group said Republican Representatives Jake La Turner of Kansas and Sam Graves of Missouri are co-sponsoring the bill.

Kevin Yoder, executive director of Keep US Posted, an advocacy group, said he supports the Connolly bill.

“If DeJoy’s frequent postage increases are allowed, Americans could soon pay well over a dollar to send a single letter, and mail-dependent industries will suffer,” said Mr. Yoder, a former member of the Kansas Republican Congress, in a statement. . “We can’t let the Postal Service sabotage itself by bankrupting industries and driving consumers away from using the mail.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story used the old name of the Postal Regulatory Commission.