Chuck Schumer announces Senate vote on $50B USPS upgrades

Federal legislation dedicating tens of billions in funding over the next ten years to the chronically cash-strapped US Postal Service will get a Senate vote Monday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Sunday.

The Senate vote Monday evening will come after on Tuesday the House by a wide margin approved the equivalent measure to provide USPS with about $50 billion in financial relief over a decade and mandate that future retirees enroll in a federal government health insurance.

“There is good news for anyone who needs the mail and likes the mail,” Schumer (D-NY) said during a press conference in Manhattan.

Schumer stressed the importance of the Postal Service by noting that in the 2020 election, 43 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail and yearly the Social Security Administration sends 350 million notices via mail.

“Let’s face it: the post office is one of the most important institutions, the most hallowed institutions, in American life,” said Schumer. “To starve it, to squeeze it so it can’t do its job, makes no sense. And we have Democrats and Republicans coming together to make it happen.

“It has everybody’s support, because it’s what’s needed.”

Schumer lamented that “the mail is very late these days,” due to lack of funding he blamed on conservatives, and vowed the bill will “bring $50 billion of needed funds to the post office so the mail will start being on time again.”

Mailboxes.
In the 2020 election, 43 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail.
Mike Blake/REUTERS

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Packages.
USPS has reported net losses of more than $90 billion since 2007.
Charles Krupa/AP

The legislation requires future retirees to enroll in Medicare, in a change a House committee has said could save it more than $22.6 billion over 10 years. Currently, roughly 25 percent of USPS retirees do not enroll in Medicare despite being eligible for it, causing the USPS to pay higher premiums than other employers. It also requires USPS to maintain six-day-a-week mail deliveries and create an online performance tracking system.

In addition, the bill gets rid of the requirement that USPS pre-fund retiree health benefits for current and retired employees for 75 years — a measure a USPS says would sharply save it about $27 billion in the next 10 years.

USPS has reported net losses of more than $90 billion since 2007 and last week recorded a net loss of $1.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021.

Chuck Schumer.
“The post office is one of the most important institutions,” Sen. Chuck Schumer explained as he pushed for the funding bill.
Brigitte Stelzer

The House version of bill, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, passed in the House on Tuesday 342-92.

With Post wires

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