Senate Committee Hearing Highlights Significant USPS Problems

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On April 16, the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a postal hearing, “Oversight of the United States Postal Service,” which highlighted significant postal service problems, particularly service delivery, that affect our members’ ability to deliver timely news and information to their subscribers. Below are some of the key points and quotes taken from the hearing. A video recording of the hearing can be viewed here.

On-time delivery/service:

  • In a heated with exchange with the Postmaster General, Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) said regarding concerns on the rollout of a new Georgia facility:

“Thirty-six percent on-time delivery … I don’t think you’re fit for this job.”

“I’ve got constituents with prescriptions that aren’t being delivered. I’ve got constituents who can’t pay their rent and their mortgages. I’ve got businesses who aren’t able to ship products or receive supplies.”

  • Similarly, in a recent interview, Postal Regulatory Commissioner Thomas Day said:

The USPS has “lost control of the process…and I’ve never, ever seen service this poor in my career.”

Day was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the Senate in September. He served 35 years in the Postal Service.

Financial status:

  • Ranking Member Rand Paul (R-KY) said regarding USPS’s financial responsibility:

“USPS is expected to lose about $6 billion this year. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot of success with people going in the right direction.”

He also questioned why, with sales diminishing, the USPS would add 125,000 full-time jobs.

Impact to residents:

  • Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy neglected to listen to local Nevada leaders, businesses, and residents:

“I have rural Nevadans, veterans, and seniors that still rely on this… You didn’t look at how this would impact my seniors. That’s unacceptable…You didn’t specifically see how it would impact Nevada veterans. That’s actually unacceptable to me as well.”

(See Rosen’s press release.)

The News/Media Alliance and other stakeholders have been calling on Congress to hold postal hearings and have called for pauses on rate increases and implementation of the Delivering for America plan.

The Alliance, other stakeholder groups and more have been sounding the alarm for the last four years that the twice-annual postal rate increases, above and beyond the rate of inflation, are an existential threat to publishers, harming their ability to stay afloat and deliver quality journalism, which serves to ensure American’s rights to free speech and a free press, protected under the First Amendment.

Alliance President & CEO Danielle Coffey said, “Our members are on a death spiral with unsustainable rates from the monopoly postal system. If something doesn’t change soon, our members will be out of business and residents will see more news deserts and an even greater loss of quality news and information.”

 

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