Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the House Government Reform Committee, participated in the markup of H.R. 22, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. This legislation, which the Congressman cosponsored, was crafted by a bipartisan team to ensure that the U.S. Postal Service can adapt and survive in the competitive communications marketplace of the 21st Century. The measure would provide the Postal Service with more flexibility in its services and business operations while freeing up money in an escrow account that could be used to hold down postage rates.
“I am proud to support the bipartisan reform measure that will allow USPS to continue to provide great service and low rates for years to come,” said Congressman Higgins. “USPS has not been reformed in over 35 years and this important legislation modifies the USPS business model so it will flourish throughout the 21st Century and beyond.”
In 1970, Congress passed the Postal Reorganization Act, turning the Postal Service into a self-supporting entity with the charge to operate more like a business. The Postal Service has maintained universal service and delivers more than 206 billion pieces of mail a year to approximately 142 million addresses. Today, the Postal Service is a $69 billion entity, employing 700,000 career employees and supporting an industry that produces goods and services worth $900 billion annually.
In January 2005, GAO released the 2005 High Risk List. Although the Postal Service has cut costs and improved productivity, GAO placed the agency on the list because its business model is outdated and unsustainable and reform legislation has not yet been enacted.
According to GAO, total mail volume continues to decline. This is a troubling trend for the Postal Service, which has depended on rising mail volume to help cover rising costs and mitigate rate increases.
During the 108th Congress, the House Government Reform Committee unanimously reported postal reform legislation, H.R. 4341. Unfortunately, the House leadership would not bring the bill to the floor because the White House opposed reform.
Toward the conclusion of the 108th Congress, the Administration released its list of postal reform issues and began discussions with the Government Reform Committee majority. On January 4, 2005, Representatives Henry Waxman, John McHugh, Danny Davis and Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis reintroduced the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, H.R. 22. A postal reform measure, S. 662, has also been introduced in the Senate.