Biden signs postal service reform bill into law

by Sam Fossum and Megan Vazquez | CNN

President Joe Biden signed a sweeping bill into law on Wednesday that would alter the finances of the US Postal Service and allow the agency to modernize its service.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the Postal Service provides democracy. And it is no exaggeration to say that the Postal Service is as essential as it was before, it is today,” Biden said at a bill signing ceremony at the White House.

Biden, ticking through the reforms included in the bipartisan bill, noted that it sets the Postal Service on a more “sustainable and stable financial footing.”

The new law would require retired postal workers to enroll in Medicare when they were eligible and repeal a previous mandate for the agency, which forced it to cover health care costs further years ago. Those two measures would save the USPS about $50 billion over the next decade, according to the House Oversight Committee.

The law also requires the Postal Service to create an online public dashboard with local and national delivery and performance data, as well as allowing the USPS to work with local governments to offer other ancillary non-postal services. .

“Today, we have recognized the law, our belief that the postal service is fundamental to our economy, our democracy, our health and the spirit of who we are as a nation,” Biden told an audience at the White House. Full of Congress members from both sides of the aisle.

Unlike other government institutions, the US Postal Service must rely on revenue from deliveries, not taxpayer funding, to support itself. This means that the agency established in 1775 must operate without the usual financial benefits of being a federal agency, while still incurring those costs.

In his remarks, the president praised the postal service for keeping people and communities connected across the country, its long history as one of the oldest agencies in the government, and millions of homes with free at-home testing kits for COVID-19. Looking at your most recent efforts to distribute. ,

“The Postal Service stepped in to do the same, and now they have distributed more than 320 million COVID-19 test kits,” Biden said. “Impressive change for an unprecedented work and it continues to be a truly heroic service that you have rendered during this pandemic.”

The new law comes after years of growing warnings about the agency’s status.

Recently, Postmaster General Louis Dejoy said that the USPS’s “serious financial situation” has prevented the service from modernizing, which includes replacing the vast majority of its older vehicle fleet with electric trucks.

DeJoy said last year that cutting first-class mail delivery times and post office hours across the country is one of the changes in his 10-year plan for the agency.

Before moving to the president’s desk, the Postal Service Reform Act enjoyed a rare wave of bipartisan support, easily approved by the Senate in a 79-19 vote after being passed in the House 342-92.

The law’s co-sponsors — which included Democrats, Reps Carolyn Maloney and Sen. Gary Peters, as well as Republicans, Rep. Jim Comer and Sen. Rob Portman — praised the bill’s signing.

“After decades of decline, this landmark law will finally get the postal service on a permanent financial footing,” said Maloney, a New York representative. “I am proud to have negotiated this bill across party lines and worked hand-in-hand with Ranking Member Comer, Chairman Peters and Ranking Member Portman.”

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