Reed aims to shore up USPS funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Postal Service lost nearly $4 billion in 2018. But a new plan from U.S. Rep. Tom Reed would help to curb those losses. However, it’s unclear if the Postal Service is on-board with the idea.
Reed’s plan would end the pre-funding mandate for retiree and other personnel costs, a driving factor for the Postal Service financial troubles.
In all, USPS was $3.9 billion in the red during fiscal year 2018, according to their annual report. That has caused about 90 percent of those losses since 2007, Reed’s office said.
The Postal Service is the only federal agency required to pre-fund decades worth of health benefits for its future retirees. It’s a designation Reed and the bill’s Democratic co-sponsors call unfair. All of this comes as the Postal Service saw a boost in revenue in 2018, according to their annual fiscal report.
But more Americans are using the mailing system less often. The Postal Service saw a 3.6 percent drop in volume, which led to about half of those losses. Reed said the Postal Service has to plan and fund for retirees’ health care and similar costs decades in advance, something that isn’t easy to predict and ends up costing USPS billions of dollars.
“We care about these postal workers, we care about the delivery system,” Reed said. “It’s just not fair to isolate the Post Office with this excessive burden that the government has been putting on it for decades.”
WENY News reached out to USPS for comment, but a spokesperson said they haven’t developed a formal position on Reed’s plan just yet.
“We thank Rep. Reed and the other co-sponsors of the USPS Fairness Act for their bi-partisan interest in addressing one of the unreasonable mandates imposed on the Postal Service,” said Marti Johnson, USPS Sr. Public Relations Representative. “We are carefully reviewing the legislation, and have no comment on the bill at this time.”
The bill has nearly four-dozen co-sponsors in the U.S. House.