February 21, 2013
I know you’ve been hearing about changes with the United States Postal Service and you may be wondering, “Why now?” Currently, the Postal Service delivers to every American, without any cost to taxpayers. It does not make a difference whether they live in quiet, rural villages or bustling cities.
Unfortunately, the USPS is facing financial challenges and without any changes, taxpayers could be stuck with a bill that reaches into billions of dollars.
We cannot let this happen. The path that the USPS is currently taking is simply unsustainable. I’ve been a small businessman for over thirty years, and while the USPS is the 2nd largest employer in country and by no means a small business, the fundamentals remain the same. For the USPS to continue without taxpayer funding, structural and financial reforms must be made. Last year alone, the USPS lost $15.9 billion and reached its borrowing limit of $15 billion from the Treasury.
What is causing this? And how can we fix it? Mail volume is down by more than 25 percent and is expected to continue decreasing. The ways in which we communicate are changing. With the internet, email and other forms of digital communication, Americans are not sending as many letters and they’re paying their bills online. Competition for package services has also grown for both business and residential service, leading to reduced revenue for the USPS.
Too often, we hear discussion of closing post offices in our small, more rural communities. I believe it is in those smaller areas where the post office plays a bigger role in the overall community. In fact, according to the Postal Regulatory Commission, closing all small and rural post offices would save the Postal Service less than 0.7 percent of its total operating budget. Making drastic cuts to our rural post offices is clearly not the answer.
Survival of the USPS is essential. Mail has an impact on every community in the 7th district. The USPS itself believes that in order to survive, it needs to cut $22 billion in annual expenses by the year 2016. This is a big task, but reforms must be made. For this large task, there is no single solution. The answers must provide the American people with a 21st century postal service that continues to provide universal service and affordable mail.
Since 1970, we’ve had a self-funded USPS and there is no reason that taxpayers should have to foot the bill in 2013. I will continue to advocate for a self-supported postal service that works for everyone who uses the mail, including the businesses who rely on it, the people who mail letters and bills, and those who have prescriptions delivered to their homes.
The USPS is proposing cutting Saturday delivery as a method of savings; however, doing so will only save $2 billion out the $22 billion that must be cut per year. Eliminating Saturday delivery is not the magic answer to all of the questions surrounding the financial hurdles facing the postal service right now. We still have a long way to go toward solvency of the USPS.
I'd like to hear your opinions about the elimination of Saturday delivery. Please email me at email@example.com or call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-6265.