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|Sun Sept 11 2022 20:57:47|
Will Congress Put the Brakes on Postage Rate Hikes?
By: Ina Steiner
The USPS has long had restrictions over how much it could raise rates for "market dominant" services (which includes the cost of a stamp, First Class Mail, and Media Mail), but it now has greater latitude to raise rates above the rate of inflation. However, some members of congress want to look into reversing that decision.
Smaller online sellers who rely on the USPS have noticed that rates are increasing more frequently (3 times a year instead of once). And in May, USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told the mailing industry to prepare for rate increases at an "uncomfortable rate
On Friday, Representative Gerald Connolly introduced H.R.8781 - the "Ensuring Accurate Postal Rates Act
" - to look into removing the authority the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) granted to the USPS in 2020.
As we reported at the time, the PRC gave the USPS greater latitude
in order to "address the Postal Service's financial health and target primary drivers of net losses, the Commission implements two mechanisms designed to permit the Postal Service to generate additional revenue to cover costs outside of its control."
But as Government Executive
notes, the Postal Service no longer faces a dire financial situation after the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act as well as the pandemic-era boom to package business.
The USPS has found another way to raise rates, however, by instituting steep surcharges on certain types of packages as we described in December
(and that ultimately went into effect in April).
Unfortunately for mailers, the current bill seems only to apply to market dominant rates - but concerned citizens and business owners can write to Rep. Connolly or their own members of congress to get them up to speed on the challenges they face and what they would like to see change.