USPS & Postal Policy
CALL TO ACTION: Let Congress know that USPS postal increases impact your nonprofit!
Now is the time to write to your Congressional representatives and ask them to amplify your voice to the Postmaster General and to the USPS Board of Governors to do everything possible to eliminate or minimize the expected mid-year increases. These increases are expected to be announced on or about March 31 and Congress needs to hear from us now.
Click below to send the auto-letter to your representatives. These letters are MUCH MORE POWERFUL if you customize the language and personalize it to your organization. Simply say where you are from and name the nonprofits you care about or work with. Say a sentence or two about why you care, put in your own words. What will a rate increase mean for your mission goals (e.g., fewer meals served) or fundraising program (e.g., fewer donors acquired)?
Even better, write a letter on your organization’s letterhead to be shared with your Congressmembers. Click below to get a template that you can customize and print on letterhead.
Needless to say, the Postal Service has been a hot topic of conversation. Whether the discussion centered around new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, age and reliability of postal equipment, or slow delivery over the holiday season, controversy has surrounded the USPS.
On top of all of this, mailers now face a 6 to 8.5% increase in postal rates (depending on the class of mail) expected to take effect in early July.
Why do nonprofits care?
The USPS is an important conduit for the nonprofit community. A well-written letter with a personal message sent via the mail has been—and continues to be—a vital means of communication from nonprofits to donors, members, beneficiaries, and the general public.
With postal rates expected to go up at a rate substantially higher than the rate of inflation, nonprofits are extremely concerned…And should be!
What is the Current Situation?
With the enactment of the landmark Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), mailers faced a relatively stable situation in terms of postal rate increases. Specifically, the PAEA limited price increases to a formula derived from the Consumer Price Index. Therefore, in most years since 2006, postal rates increased approximately at the rate of inflation, a relatively predictable and reasonable rate of increase. Unhappily, thanks to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) those days are over!
Under the 2006 law, the PRC was given the task of conducting a ten-year review of the law’s effectiveness. The PRC concluded the USPS’s poor financial situation was due to the CPI cap. It therefore proposed a new regulation, formally adopted in December 2020, which gave new ratemaking authority to USPS , NOT limited by a CPI cap. Mailers now face a new, much more challenging environment of substantially larger rate increases, year in and year out.
What is the Ideal Policy?
Ideal for the nonprofit sector—and all mailers—would be a return to the original goals of the Postal Reform Act of 2006: predictable rate increases, largely in line with the rate of inflation.
What to Keep an Eye On?
There is an immediate “wolf at the door.” The Postal Service is expected to announce in late March 2021 its next rate increase, which as noted, is expected to be 6% to 8.5%, depending on the class of mail. These new rates will likely take effect around 90 days later, in late June or early July. This pending rate increase is in addition to the 1.5% rate increase that just took effect on January 24, 2021.
The long-range consequence of the new rate-making authority could mean crushing increases over the next 4-5 years.
What can we do?
The Nonprofit Alliance is working on 3 fronts:
CONGRESSIONAL PRESSURE ON THE USPS
We are asking Congress to persuade USPS to restrain its use of the new authority until 2022 at the earliest. You can help by reaching out to your elected officials. Sample letters and talking points will be available above on March 1.
A LAWSUIT TESTING THE LEGALITY OF THE RULE
The Nonprofit Alliance has joined the lawsuit (as an “intervenor”) of the Association of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM) in the DC Federal Court of Appeals. The suit claims the PRC assumed the authority to raise rates beyond the CPI limit set in the law, an authority not found in the PAEA. We have asked the court to prevent the new PRC rule from taking effect (to issue a “stay”) pending the court’s final decision as to the rule’s legality.
The Nonprofit Alliance is working closely with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), the co-author of the 2006 PAEA. Senator Carper is fully engaged on the need for structural reform of the USPS. TNPA has also been working with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), who chairs the Senate committee with postal jurisdiction, the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC). Both Senators Carper and Peters have stated that moving forward with postal reform legislation is one of their top priorities.
Both Senators believe the centerpiece of a new postal reform bill should include moving the enormous postal retiree healthcare cost away from the USPS and moving this liability to Medicare, where most retiree healthcare costs reside.
Watch the Recording:
From March 4: The USPS & How to Defend Against Unreasonable Rate Increases.
Who are key players?
IN THE U.S. SENATE
- Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)
- Senator Gary Peters (D-MI)
- Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the Ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC)
IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
- Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Oversight & Reform Committee (the House committee with postal jurisdiction)
- Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), chair of the subcommittee with postal jurisdiction.