The Senate has signed off on a sweeping retooling of the United States Postal Service (USPS). On Tuesday, 79 across-the-aisle yeas approved the $107 billion Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 – providing the cash necessary for the agency to modernize its service and make it more efficient for Americans.
The USPS could certainly use the money. From 2007 to 2020, it recorded losses of more than $80 billion and produced over $188 billion in unfunded liabilities and debt. From October 2021, to December 2021, it lost $1.3 billion.
President Joe Biden had indicated earlier that he would sign the legislation once it gets to his desk. The House has already approved the bill.
The bipartisanship support that the bill received reflects the agency's importance to the public. For years, Republicans and Democrats have squabbled over upgrading the USPS. Republicans postured the agency as being incompetent and said supporting it was just throwing good money away.
When the COVID-19 pandemic took over, the agency experienced some hiccups, like forcing the Veterans Administration (VA) to find alternative ways to deliver medications. However, Democrats like Virginia's Jerry Connolly remained on postal workers' side, lauding mail workers as everyday heroes and nothing that Americans support the Postal Service.
“After more than a decade of hard work and negotiations, the Postal Service Reform Act is finally on its way to the president's desk," Connolly commented on the Senate's passage. "This will save the Post Office from financial ruin, and ensure our mail is delivered for decades to come."
The postal union calls the legislation “critical” for consumers
The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) praised the legislation. On top of maximizing its members' participation in Medicare, the group said the legislation will also ensure that Americans can count on deliveries six days per week.
The group said it will also ensure that letter mail, flats, and packages remain combined into one postal network while helping meet the demand of package growth. It also gives the agency the approval to contract with local, state, and indigenous governments to offer non-mail services like fishing and hunting licenses.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that this bill is one of the most critical pieces of postal legislation in modern history — the struggle to win Postal Reform has been 15 years in the making,” said the American Postal Workers Union’s (APWU) Legislative and Political Director, Judy Beard.