February 2, 2023 • Nora Weiser and Rafe Morrissey
The Long and Winding Road

Narrow election margins offer both challenges and opportunities

Nora Weiser GCA
Rafe Morrissey

With the midterm elections mostly decided at press time, greeting card consumers and the broader mailing industry face two distinct phases for legislative opportunity moving forward. The first is the intense and active lame-duck session that began in the middle of November. The second will be the new Congress that will convene in January with a different cast of characters and a new party in control of the House.

Our focus in the first phase is to engage with Congress in the lame-duck session in the hopes of getting a new review of postage rate limits included in the year-end funding bill.

Meanwhile, the new Congress will offer a broader range of opportunities. We may have to continue the fight for a review of rate limits, but a new Congress offers chances for additional reforms to further secure USPS’ financial stability while preserving traditional mail.

The broader mailing industry is still determining its agenda, but options include limiting rate increases to once a year, recalculating USPS legacy liabilities to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) to correct overpayments, and further expansion of USPS services to broaden the revenue base.

The GCA has determined that clarifying the role and responsibilities of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to ensure effective regulatory oversight will be its top priority. Improving the USPS’ financial condition will not matter without a strong regulator to hold USPS management accountable and ensure that captive mailers are protected from excessive rate increases.

While the outcome of the control of the House and Senate is still being determined, we will certainly have to work with new leadership on the House and Senate oversight committees. Chairwoman Maloney (D-NY) lost her primary, and House Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH) will retire at the end of 2022.

We will be working to convince the new leadership of the committees that greeting cards and traditional mail is still relevant and, indeed, essential to the long-term stability of the USPS. Postmaster General DeJoy’s focus on optimization of the network for parcels and a reluctance on the part of Congress to address postage rate issues are big challenges. If a new review of rate caps is undertaken, the GCA will have to prove its case that a reduced cap can meet an accurately calculated USPS revenue requirement and sustain it in court.

All of these challenges underscore that securing a better future for the citizen mailer did not end with the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act, but has only just begun.

Nora Weiser is the executive director of the Greeting Card Association (GCA), and Rafe Morrissey is GCA’s vice president of public affairs.

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