Joint Letter to Senate Committee on Homeland Security Urges Congress to Amend Bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act (S. 1720, H.R. 3076) to Review USPS Rate-Setting
By Beth Dozier — 919.602.4478 (m)
Washington, D.C. (June 4, 2021)—Reacting to the U.S. Postal Service’s announcement on May 28 of major postage increases for most mail, the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21)—an organization of public and private companies, trade associations and other industry groups—today joined with Consumer Action— a national consumer education and advocacy nonprofit—in asking Congress to take action. In a letter sent to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security leadership, the groups urge members to amend the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act (S. 1720, H.R. 3076) to include review of the postal rate-setting system, which was changed by the Postal Regulatory Commission in November 2020 to give USPS the ability to set much more dramatic rate increases—yet has not been subject to public or Congressional scrutiny.
Without action from Congress, C21 and Consumer Action say that the newest rate increase of nearly 7 percent for most mail and nearly 9 percent for charities and other nonprofits, magazines, newspapers and catalogs will be compounded in future years—thereby threatening businesses large and small, driving mail away from USPS and ultimately hurting the public’s access to mail.
“When postage already constitutes up to 80 percent of the cost of each piece of mail, increases of this magnitude are fundamentally unaffordable,” C21 and Consumer Action wrote. “Businesses and others will cut back on mail, with some not able to survive, and larger businesses will simply move more paper communications online. The reductions in mail—plus the increase in postage, which will include stamps—will have a troubling impact on seniors and rural Americans, in particular.”
The letter continued: “In fiscal year 2020, with packages spiking and mail plunging, mail still generated more than $37 billion for USPS, while packages, even in their best year, generated $28 billion. Judging by recent volume figures from USPS, this year may well be even better for mail as the economy re-expands—unless these rate increases choke off a resurgence … Small businesses, nonprofits and others, all of which have been harmed by the impact of pandemic measures, will need to be able to use the most effective response-generating tool in their possession: marketing and promotions by mail. If that avenue becomes blocked by higher prices, that will affect not just those businesses, but the economy as a whole, weighing on progress toward a full recovery from the pandemic.
“Consumers and businesses value mail and packages, and the USPS role in delivering both. Those products should receive comparable treatment and support within the postal system; one of them should not be subjected to policies that cause it to atrophy.”
The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21) consists of public and private companies and industry associations representing newspapers, advertisers, catalogers, e-commerce, parcels, greeting cards, financial services, telecommunications, insurance, paper, printing, technology, envelope manufacturing, and mail services, which understand the essential role of USPS and want it sustained for the future. C21 broadly represents an industry generating nearly $1.6 trillion in sales and supporting 7.3 million private-sector jobs. Learn more at 21stcenturypostal.org.