I won’t hold my breath — the recent attempt to save some of the $25 million the United States Postal Service currently bleeds every day by eliminating most Saturday delivery was quashed by unions and their buddies in Congress earlier this year — but House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa has been struggling to work with the vociferous opponents of USPS-reform. The latest effort to cut costs at the financially unsustainable agency includes another new plan to cut out the relatively high expenses of door-to-door delivery and instead move to curbside or centralized delivery methods:
On July 19, 2013 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., introduced H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013.
“The commonsense reforms in this legislation will restore the United States Postal Service to long-term financial solvency while maintaining high-quality universal service for all Americans,” said Chairman Issa. “The legislation incorporates reforms offered by members of both sides of the aisle and builds upon months of bipartisan and bicameral discussions.”
Issa released a discussion draft of the Postal Reform Act in June. The Committee received dozens of comments from stakeholders, including members of Congress both on and off the Committee. A list of changes incorporated into the introduced version of the bill can be found here.
The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Postal Reform, and Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who cosponsored the Postal Reform Act in the 112th congress.
Here are some deets, via CBS News:
According to the committee, 28 percent of addresses now receive “to the door” service, while 42 percent receive curbside mail delivery and 30 percent received centralized delivery. The Postal Reform Act would require “to the door” service to be phased out over 10 years, saving an estimated $4 billion per year.
“A balanced approach to saving the Postal Service means allowing USPS to adapt to America’s changing use of mail,” said committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who introduced the legislation.
In a report released in 2011, the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General found that door-to-door delivery costs more than $353 per delivery point in cities, compared to $224 for curbside service and $161 for centralized service. There was a similar disparity in rural areas.
Delivering mail to 152 addresses – including 37.8 million that receive “to the door” service – is the largest fixed cost faced by the Postal Service, at more than $30 billion per year. In an email to CBS News, the Postal Service noted that while mail volume has fallen from 213.1 billion pieces in 2006 to 160 billion today, “changes in delivery costs are not proportionate to changes in mail volume. The letter carrier goes to each address every day, in most cases, whether he is delivering one piece of mail or ten.”
I’ve recently noticed commercials about the many virtues and necessities of the USPS sponsored by none other than the AFLCIO running across my television screen, and the relevant unions are up in arms about how Americans cannot possibly afford to eliminate a single service offered by USPS because they are all absolutely essential — and while they’re all quick to tout that the USPS doesn’t directly receive any taxpayer funding, they have completely exhausted their line of credit from the U.S. Treasury and, without serious reform, will no doubt be looking for a bailout someday soon.