Senate Passes Bipartisan Tester Legislation to Reform Postal Service
Senator’s bill to ensure long-term, reliable mail service in rural America heads to President’s desk
U.S. Senator Tester today celebrated Senate passage of his bipartisan Postal Reform Act, which will ensure long-term, reliable mail service and put the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on sound financial footing. Tester’s legislation passed the House earlier this week and will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.
“For Montanans, the Postal Service is critical for delivering everything from prescription medication to Social Security benefits to essential services that support small businesses,” said Tester. “But current USPS leadership has mismanaged the agency’s finances and unnecessarily reduced services, closed Post Offices, and increased prices, which has been devastating to folks in Montana who rely on reliable and affordable mail delivery. My bipartisan legislation will put the Postal Service back on solid financial ground and ensure Montana families and businesses can depend on reliable and affordable mail delivery for years to come.”
Tester’s bipartisan Postal Reform Act includes:
Medicare Integration: Requires future Postal Service retirees, who have been paying into Medicare their entire careers, to enroll in Medicare. Currently, roughly a quarter of postal retirees do not enroll in Medicare even though they are eligible. This means USPS is forced to pay higher premiums than any other public or private sector employer. By better integrating Medicare, the Postal Service estimates it could save approximately $22.7 billion over 10 years.
Eliminating Health Care Prefunding Requirement: Eliminates the 2006 prefunding requirement for retiree healthcare that has added billions in liabilities to the USPS balance sheet. The Postal Service estimates this provision would drastically reduce its prefunding liability allowing it to save $27 billion over 10 years.
Service Performance Transparency: Requires the Postal Service to develop a public-facing, online dashboard with national and local level service performance data updated each week to provide additional transparency and promote compliance with on-time delivery of mail.
Six-Day Delivery: Permanently require the Postal Service to maintain its standard of delivering at least six days a week.
Non-Postal Services: Allows the Postal Service to partner with State, local, and Tribal governments to offer non-postal services (hunting and fishing licenses, for example) that provide enhanced value to the public, as long as they do not detract from core postal services and provided the agreements cover their costs.
Rural Newspaper Sustainability: Increases special rates for rural newspaper distribution to promote local newspapers.
Tester has been Montana’s leading champion holding the USPS accountable. He has repeatedly pushed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on USPS policy changes that have delayed mail, threatened to undermine the agency, and harmed rural America. In 2020, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the November election. Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of Montanans have contacted Tester to express concerns about mail delays and their effects on Montana’s frontier communities.