The House of Representatives passed its version of the Postal Service Reform Act this week, designed to help the Postal Service address its financial shortfalls. The Senate will now consider the bill with a vote as early as next week.
Rick Geddes, professor in the Brooks School of Public Policy and founding director of Cornell University’s Program in Infrastructure Policy, is an expert on the funding, financing and operation of civil and social infrastructure.
“The Postal Service Reform Act currently making its way through Congress would shift about $50 billion in unfunded liabilities from the Postal Service onto taxpayers. Taxpayers might have hoped for meaningful reform in return for taking on more liabilities.
“Other than moving money around, the bill does nothing to address the Postal Service’s ongoing financial crisis. The Postal Service’s core product, first-class mail, peaked in 2001 and has declined by almost half since then. The Postal Service lost $87 billion over the past 14 fiscal years—including $9.2 billion in fiscal year 2020—and expects to lose $9.7 billion in fiscal year 2021.
“Rather than addressing that crisis by allowing the Postal Service to become more efficient via reform, Congress is instead moving in the opposite direction. For example, the bill would impose a statutory requirement that the Postal Service deliver mail six days per week while other countries are markedly reducing delivery days per week. Overall, the bill represents a huge, missed opportunity for the American public.”