The House of Representatives approved bipartisan legislation on Feb. 8 that would overhaul the U.S. Postal Service’s finances and operations, providing it with "stability" and enhancing its services after years of financial turmoil.
The USPS on Feb. 8 reported a net loss of $1.5 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31, which it said was in part due to soaring inflation levels across the United States that have weighed on its operating expenses, including the surging costs of energy and fuel expenses.
The agency is currently implementing a recovery plan to reverse those losses over the next decade.
"This bill is an agreement to fix some of the serious problems that have been looming over the Post Office for years and threatening its financial stability," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), one of the lawmakers leading the legislation.
Specifically, H.R. 3076 would provide the Postal Service with the critical financial help it needs, giving it around $50 billion in financial relief over a decade.
The legislation would remove the Postal Service's costly existing requirement to pre-fund retiree health benefits, something it has been required to do for its employees even if they don't actually serve until they retire.
"No private company or other federal government entity is required to comply with such a burdensome requirement," lawmakers said.
Removing that requirement is projected to save the USPS around $27 billion over a decade.
Future Postal Service retirees also will be required to enroll in Medicare, as around 25 percent of postal retirees don't enroll in Medicare even though they're eligible. This results in USPS paying higher premiums than other employers, officials said. The move could save the Postal Service about $23 billion over 10 years.
The legislation would also establish new service performance transparency standards, requiring the USPS to develop a "public-facing, online dashboard with national and local level service performance data," which will be updated each week to provide increased transparency of delivery service and "promote compliance with on-time delivery of mail."
It would also mandate that the service continue to deliver at least six days each week.
The new measure now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he’s planning to schedule a vote before a recess that starts after next week.
President Joe Biden has also signaled he will sign the bill into law.
"The administration is committed to ensuring that the Postal Service delivers the highest quality, most reliable service possible to every American. This legislation would advance these goals in several ways," the statement reads.
In general, USPS doesn't receive taxpayer funding, but it was granted a $10 billion loan by Congress in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which Congress opted to forgive.
DeJoy at the time told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in Washington that the service "fell far short of meeting our service targets" during the holiday season and that "too many Americans were left waiting for weeks for important deliveries of mail and packages."
"This is unacceptable, and I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays," he said, adding that officials would "strive to do better in our service to the American people, and we will do better."