December 5, 2022 • Nora Weiser and Rafe Morrissey
Congress Must Ensure Postal Reform is Reflected in Postage Rates

Community members need to contact their own representatives

Nora Weiser GCA
Rafe Morrissey

Earlier this year, Congress passed the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 (PSRA). While providing the USPS with substantial financial relief from the prefunding obligation for retiree healthcare benefits and the liability for missed payments, language from earlier versions requiring the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to review the expanded cap for postage rates it approved in early 2020 was not included. While the USPS has benefited enormously from the legislation, including posting a $59.7 billion net profit last quarter, it has not resulted in any mitigation of rate increases for mailers. In fact, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy intends to pursue what he has described as “uncomfortable increases” for mailers in spite of the legislation to achieve the level of financial stability he deems necessary. In addition, he appears to be moving forward with rate increases twice a year with another planned for this January.

The Greeting Card Association (GCA) believes the PRC should be required to review the rate cap for stamps and other mail products to account not only for the PSRA but also for the impact of COVID on the USPS, which has experienced substantially greater revenue than it forecast as well as a $10 billion grant from Congress and funding for new vehicle acquisitions.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) is one of the main architects of the PSRA but believes the issue of rate stability was a missing element from the bill. In early September, Rep. Connolly and his staff worked with the GCA Public Affairs team to develop and introduce the Ensuring Accurate Postal Rates Act (H.R. 8781) to require the PRC to conduct a broad-based review of the expanded rate caps it approved at the end of 2020.

Representatives Jake La Turner (R-KS) and Sam Graves (R-MO) joined in introducing the bill, providing a bipartisan platform to highlight the need for a new review to make certain that the rate cap for stamp prices accurately reflects the USPS’ financial condition. The limited amount of time left in this Congress will not allow the bill to advance towards passage, however, it is hoped that it can garner a significant number of cosponsors between now and the midterm elections, after which negotiation to finalize the FY2023 omnibus spending bill are expected to begin in earnest.

Additionally, petitions from GCA/AF&PA and PostCom are still pending before the PRC and a significant number of cosponsors could motivate the Commission to take up one or both of the petitions on its own.

It is vital that the greeting card community weigh in with our members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 8781. It is easy to do. Simply text “postage“ to 52886, and you can easily generate a note to your representative in Washington, D.C.

Enacting postal reform was a major step forward but we need to make sure its benefits are fully reflected in the limits for stamp price increases.

Nora Weiser is the executive director of GCA, and Rafe Morrissey is GCA’s vice president of public affairs.

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