Tuesday, on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called for a plan that modernizes the Postal Service to make sure it is viable well into the future. He said that the business model of the USPS must change for it to compete in the digital age.
Some of the changes he called for include allowing customers to make copies at the post office, to have documents notarized, to get driver’s licenses and to sell hunting licenses. He also pointed to the burden of pre-funding future retiree health benefits as a problem that must be addressed for the Postal Service to compete. All these changes are included in his bill, S. 1853, the Postal Service Protection Act. Sanders said Congress must allow the USPS to innovate and compete to remain viable.
Sanders also pushed back against a plan by the Postal Service to eliminate Saturday delivery, close thousands of post offices, eliminate 252 mail processing facilitates, eliminate more than 200,000 jobs and slow down mail service. These plans are “laying the foundation for the end of the Postal Service as we know it,” he said.
The senator lobbied for these changes to be included in S. 1789 before that measure comes to floor of the Senate. Sanders is working with the authors of the bill to improve it and to make sure it includes business-model changes and protections to save the Postal Service. These conversations are taking place thanks to the many NALC activists who called on their senators to amend S. 1789 before the Senate considers it for passage.
Postal reform must address the Postal Service’s burdensome requirement to pre-fund retiree health benefits, must protect key services (such as six-day mail delivery and door-to-door delivery) and must reform the USPS business model so that it remains viable for the long term.