Darrell Issa has been waging an under-the-radar campaign to save the Postal Service for years now. The most recent iteration of his plan, the Postal Reform Act, would save $17 billion over the next ten years for the USPS. The major changes would be giving the USPS the ability to eliminate Saturday delivery and encouraging curbside rather than doorstep drop-offs.
Additionally, it would eliminate what the postal workers’ union has claimed is the major deficit on the USPS budget: a requirement that the USPS pre-fund retirement benefits to the tune of over $6 billion per year.
In both eliminating the pre-funding requirement and giving the USPS the ability to be more flexible with their mandates, Darrell Issa’s reform should hit all the right buttons. And the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote up the CBO score for Issa’s bill favorably:
The bulk of the savings would come from two changes in mail delivery. The first would authorize the Postal Service to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, which CBO expects it would do, saving $11 billion over ten years. The second would require the USPS to increase the use of curbside and centralized delivery, rather than delivering directly to people’s doors. This change would save $8 billion. In addition, the bill would save smaller amounts from eliminating annual appropriations to reimburse USPS for free and reduced-rate mail ($800 million) and from increasing rates on bypass mail delivered to Alaska ($170 million).
The Postal Reform Act represents a responsible approach to fixing the Postal Service’s finances. Congress should not hesitate to act, especially given the trouble the USPS is having in meeting its contribution obligations for future health benefits.
I’ve written more about the Post Office and the prospects for reform here.