Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today introduced the Improving Postal Operations, Service, and Transparency Act of 2015 (iPOST). Designed to strengthen a similar bill he introduced two years ago in the 113th Congress, iPOST includes a comprehensive package of reforms that aim to place the US Postal Service on firm financial footing, stabilize and improve service performance, allow for the development of new products and services, and enhance transparency.
Highlights from the bill:
- Establishes a rate freeze through January 1, 2018.
- Makes the current 4.3% exigency increase implemented in January 2014 a permanent part of the rate base.
- Orders the Postal Regulatory Commission to establish a new rate system by January 1, 2018.
- Eliminates the existing statutory payment schedule, cancels any outstanding payments, reduces the pre-funding goal to 80% of projected obligations, and amortizes payments over 40 years.
- Gives the USPS the option to invest its amortization payments for up to 10 years in a more lucrative TSP-like account rather than low interest treasury bonds. At the end of 10 years, the investment income would first be used to pay any remaining retiree health liability, then debt. If those costs are resolved then the funding can be used for other postal costs such as investment in infrastructure.
- Creates a new Postal Service Health Benefits Program (PSHBP) within FEHBP, implemented and administered by OPM, for all postal employees and annuitants and require all Medicare-eligible postal annuitants and employees enrolled in the PSHBP to also enroll in Medicare, including parts A, B and D. This is designed to protect American taxpayers from a future bailout and for protecting postal employees’ benefits in retirement.
- Proposes a “pause” in USPS facility closings and consolidations for two years for mail processing plants and five years for post offices while implementing stronger performance enhancement provisions.
- Allows the USPS to introduce new non-postal products and services, ship beer, wine and distilled spirits, and partner with state and local governments in offering government services.
- Click here to view full bill
- Click here to read highlights
“For years, the Postal Service has worked hard to compete in the digital age – keeping prices as low as possible, reducing costs, and innovating where it can,” said Senator Carper in a statement. “Despite these efforts, the Postal Service’s longstanding financial and legislative burdens coupled with the ongoing decline in the volume of First Class mail make this American institution’s current business model unsustainable and its future uncertain.
“My legislation offers a comprehensive solution to the problems facing the Postal Service, [putting it] on solid financial footing, improve service, and allow it to better adapt to a digital age,” he added. “I will continue to work with the Postal Service, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI), stakeholders from rural, urban, and suburban communities, businesses of all sizes, postal customers, and postal employees to make it better.”
As ACMA continues to examine the bill, we will pass along further details.
ACMA is a Washington-based not-for-profit organization specifically created to advocate for the unique collective interests of catalog mailers in regulatory, public and administrative matters where the shared impact transcends individual company interests. The only catalog owned and controlled trade group focused solely on the business interests of catalogers and their supply chain, ACMA participates in rule-making and other proceedings of significance where a single collective voice increases influence and effectiveness. Membership is open to any party with direct interests in the catalog industry. More information can be found at www.catalogmailers.org.