U.S. House passes postal service reform bill after concerns of facility closures and declining service standards

The bill intends to improve services, expand transparency and to save the agency billions.

On Feb. 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Postal Service Reform Act, H.R. 3076, legislation intended to support the U.S. Postal Service and its workers by updating outdated institutional requirements and taking cost-saving measures that leaders believe will strengthen mail service across the county.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, D-Wash, supported the legislation and has been pushing for USPS reform after hearing concerns from postal workers unions about the decreasing standards of service, understaffing, and USPS administrators’ plans to close the East DDC, a mail distribution center in Redmond which helps process and deliver mail throughout the region.

In late January, DelBene sent a letter to U.S. Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, urging the agency to reconsider a plan to close 18 different mail distribution centers throughout the country, including the East DDC in Redmond. Workers at the facility were concerned the closure would further reduce service standards in the region.

The Postal Service Reform Act intends to codify six-day mail delivery into law by requiring delivery of both mail and packages at least six days per week, it would create more service performance transparency by implementing a public-facing, online dashboard with national and local level service performance data updated each week, and it would establish a “Postal Regulatory Commission,” to review cost attribution guidelines for different Postal Service products to ensure pricing accuracy and better accounting. It also would direct studies on the operational efficiency of certain aspects of the USPS.

Additionally, the legislation intends to save USPS nearly $50 billion over the next ten years by enrolling future postal service retirees in Medicare.The legislation also eliminates the burdensome requirement for USPS to pre-fund retiree health benefits for all current and retired employees for 75 years in the future.

“The current reality is that the USPS is not serving its workers and our communities as well as it should,” said DelBene. “This legislation will take critical steps to help improve mail service and address the solvency of USPS, allowing it to roll back proposed cost-cutting measures and systemic issues that are impacting our communities, like the proposed facility consolidation in Redmond and unreliable service across the region.”

You can read a summary of the Postal Service Reform Act here.