WASHINGTON, February 1, 2021—Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Tom Reed (NY-23), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Colin Allred (TX-32) and Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) today announced reintroduction of the USPS Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation to provide the United States Postal Service (USPS) much-needed financial relief by ending the agency’s burdensome prefunding mandate on future retiree health benefits.
“Americans depend on a reliable Postal Service. This is especially true for rural areas as well as veterans and seniors in my district, who count on six-day and door-to-door service for their mail, small businesses, and prescription medications,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04). “The unreasonable prefunding mandate has threatened the survival of the USPS and placed at risk vital services for the millions who rely on it. The prefunding mandate policy is based on the absurd notion of paying for the retirement funds of people who do not yet, and may not ever, work for the Postal Service. I’m hopeful that, under a Biden Administration, we can finally repeal this ludicrous policy, provide the USPS with critical financial relief, and take the first step towards much-needed comprehensive reform.”
“We care about solving the Postal Service’s financial burdens to ensure millions of Americans, particularly those in more rural areas, do not lose access to critical postal services,” said Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23). “The prefunding mandate is unfair, uneconomic, and inhibits the USPS from focusing on the services the American people rely on, including life-saving medication deliveries or high priority mail. Congress must act to restore the financial integrity of USPS.”
“As the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, I vowed to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to address the Postal Service’s long-standing financial problems. I’m very proud of the legislation that we introduced today to accomplish this shared goal,” said Chairwoman Maloney (NY-12). “I am laser-focused on fixing the Postal Service’s financial problems, which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. I hope this bill swiftly passes Congress and becomes law.”
“USPS is the only government entity which is mandated to prefund its retirees’ health benefits,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). “This unfair law has put the Postal Service in a horrible financial position, preventing USPS from investing in services beneficial to our community. From delivery of medications to essential goods, all Americans are reliant on the Postal Service, and this mandate has threatened the dependability of the essential services constituents in my community and across the nation count on. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will end this mandate and solve the most pressing financial problem facing our letter carriers and post offices across the country.”
“North Texans rely on the U.S. Postal Service to get their prescriptions, paychecks, and to stay in touch with family and friends serving overseas, which is why I will always work to protect the USPS,” said Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32). “Since 2007, the onerous pre-funding mandate has hampered the Postal Service’s ability to invest in infrastructure and services. I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both chambers in introducing this legislation to get rid of the mandate and allow the Postal Service to function unobstructed like every other federal agency.”
“The United States Postal Service is essential to Montanans across our state, especially for our seniors, veterans and rural communities,” Senator Daines (R-MT) said.“My bipartisan bill will ensure that the Postal Service stays in business providing world class delivery of our mail every day while also ensuring its employees maintain their benefits.”
“There is no reason we should be requiring the USPS to pre-fund its future health and retirement benefits. It’s an unnecessary burden that is jeopardizing its financial health,” said Senator Schatz (D-HI). “This is an easy fix that will dramatically improve USPS’s finances and ensure mail delivery can continue uninterrupted.”
“This mandate has been and continues to be the principal driver of Postal Service financial losses and misguided service reductions” said National Association of Letter Carriers President Frederic Rolando. “Eliminating this mandate is a critical part of reforms needed that will bring financial stability to the Postal Service. Last Congress, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House passed the Postal Service Fairness Act. The National Association of Letter Carriers deeply appreciates and is committed to efforts to finally end this mandate.”
“I applaud Chairman DeFazio for leading the charge to correct and remove the draconian and absurd prefunding mandate, a burden that no other organization, public or private has been forced to bear,” said American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein. “The bi-partisan USPS Fairness Act is one of the first steps toward returning the Postal Service to solid financial footing, and I urge Congress to quickly pass this critical legislation.”
In 2006, Congress passed a law to require the USPS to prefund 75 years’ worth of retiree health benefits in the span of ten years—a cost of approximately $110 billion. Although the money is intended to be set aside for future Post Office retirees, the funds are instead being diverted to the General Fund of the U.S. Treasury.
No other private enterprise or federal agency is required to prefund retiree health benefits on a comparable timetable. The mandate is responsible for the 100 percent of USPS’s financial losses since 2013.
In February 2020, the bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 309-106, with 87 Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
The USPS Fairness Act is endorsed by the American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Association of Postal Supervisors, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, and the Communications Workers of America.