Well Played, USPS, Well Played

USPSeagleTaking advantage of a slow moving court system and foot-dragging Congress, the USPS moves to keep the exigent rate hike alive. Again.

Al Urbanski could be excused for being less than thrilled with the recent move by the USPS. As senior editor for Direct Marketing News, Urbanksi has had just about enough of the rollercoaster ride of the Post Office’s exigent rate hikes.

And now, Urbanksi reports in this week’s issue, the USPS has once again filed with the courts, in an apparent attempt to make the 4.3% “emergency” rate hike permanent.

“After the Postal Regulatory Commission gave the U.S. Postal Service nearly everything it asked for in an appeal on the scope of the exigent surcharge, USPS has gone back to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to ask for more,” Urbanski writes.

You may remember it was less than two months ago that some folks were speculating that the exigent rate hike might expire in August of this year. As we predicted, it did not, and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) bowed under pressure to raise the exigent revenue cap by a couple billion dollars, extending the 4.3% add-on at least through next April.

They got their extension, but it appears what they really want is to make that temporary rate hike a permanent part of their base rates.

“I can only make a conjecture that [USPS managers] figure that postal reform may or may not occur before exigency is pulled out, so maybe the best way to keep it going is to send it back to the court that took six months to make the first decision,” said Gene Del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce, in Urbanski’s article.

“They have a whole staff of lawyers that can just file this stuff, so they do it and force the mailing industry to spend more time on the issue. It’s another way of leaving the opponent dry,” Del Polito continued.

Meanwhile, the politics of postage continues.

“The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee acknowledged to Direct Marketing News that Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) has circulated a draft of a new postal reform bill that he’d like to introduce when Congress returns from summer recess,” Urbanski reports. “Sources who have seen the draft say that it confers more powers to control rates on the PRC. That, if true, could also have helped trigger the USPS’s latest appeal.”

And once again, the industry waits…