Lawmakers call for USPS to stop postal rate increases

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Last week, U.S. Representatives Sam Graves (R-MO) and Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) led a group of lawmakers in calling on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to halt price increases on stamps following the agency’s record-breaking fourth rate increase in the last 18 months. The need to address the shortcomings of the Delivering for America Plan and improve the performance issues of the USPS must be resolved before legitimizing a price hike for consumers.

In a letter to USPS Board of Governors Chairman Roman Martinez, the lawmakers expressed their concern: “We write to express concern over the negative impact these frequent rate increases have had on mail volume, customer satisfaction, the overall financial viability of the USPS, and the finances of our constituents. While price increases may boost profit on one side of their ledger, USPS leadership has failed to acknowledge the adverse effects these rate increases have had on their bottom line.”

The letter continued: “Given last fiscal year’s disastrous financial results and widespread service issues, we once again voice our concerns regarding the Delivering for America plan and believe the USPS must pause and reassess its aggressive rate increase strategy. Since USPS management has indicated it does not intend to deviate from twice-yearly postal rate increases, at least through 2026, it is the responsibility of the USPS Board of Governors to intervene before more damage is done to the financial viability of the U.S. mailing industry and the long-term sustainability of the USPS.”

In 2021, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced his Delivering for America Plan, aimed at making the USPS more efficient, competitive, and profitable, with the agency forecasted to break even in Fiscal Year 2023. Despite the reforms and rate increases included in the Delivering for America Plan, the USPS did not break even, losing $6.5 billion last fiscal year. Furthermore, the USPS expects to lose another $6.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2024, even after accounting for additional price increases on stamps.

Since the Postmaster General’s appointment, Congressman Graves and Cleaver have raised numerous concerns with the USPS about performance issues in Western Missouri. In October 2022, Reps. Graves and Cleaver sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy expressing concerns about the agency’s failure to fulfill their congressionally mandated duty to provide six-day mail delivery. In December 2022, the Postal Service responded with complaints about low unemployment rates in the Kansas City region and encouraged residents to apply to work for the USPS, without offering a plan for the agency to meet their mandate.

In March 2023, Reps. Graves and Cleaver called on Postmaster General DeJoy to deliver a plan to address mail delivery delays, fulfill the USPS’s legal obligation to deliver mail six days per week and address the concerns of Kansas City residents frustrated with the performance of their local USPS branches. Following that letter, the USPS Office of Inspector General announced it would conduct an audit of delayed mail and delivery operations in the Northland and the Kansas City area. The audit was completed in August of the previous year.

The official letter from lawmakers is available here.

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