Representative Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD 5th)
19th-term Democrat from Maryland.
Photo: Representative Hoyer
Bio & Contact Info
Send Message
Key Bills & Votes
Letters To Leaders
· More Letters to
  Rep. Hoyer

· Search All

Letters To Leaders
All messages are published with permission of the sender. The general topic of this message is Budget:
Postal Reform Instead of Republican Kill Strategies

Rep. Steny Hoyer
Sen. Benjamin Cardin

March 7, 2013

USPS Needs a Thoughtful, Strategic Plan for Reform. Nothing is inevitable about the “so-called” decline of the U.S. Postal Service. Although USPS faces unprecedented challenges, it CAN continue to do what it has done for nearly 250 years " play a vital role in our daily lives as a key piece of this country’s social and economic infrastructure. The Postal Service needs a plan that will allow it to thrive in the 21st century, not Band Aid fixes that settle for cutting key services to customers.

The fundamental error in plans advanced by Postal Service management, and many in Congress, is that they see only problems, not opportunities. They assume that the Postal Service is slowly becoming obsolete, and there is not really much to do about it, except to reduce or even eliminate services. These plans are based on a belief that the only solution is to give up: dropping door-to-door service and Saturday delivery, closing post offices, laying off employees, eliminating routes and tearing apart the network.

But why sit idly by and accept the deterioration of a national asset? The Postal Service is not an ordinary business " it is an American institution. USPS and its employees help bind this country together. It was the nation’s first network, considered so vital that it was included in our Constitution. The American people deserve, and should demand, more.

A Plan Based on a New Business Model

Rather than pursue an approach that would simply shrink USPS by cutting service to customers and degrading the last-mile delivery network, the Postal Service needs a wholly new business model, built from the bottom up, that looks above the immediate financial problems to find opportunities to meet the evolving needs of the American people in 21st century.

The development of such a plan must be comprehensive. A top-to-bottom evaluation of every aspect of the Postal Service is essential. It would not just look for ways to cut costs. It also would look for new business opportunities and revenue streams. It would seek relief from unnecessary legislative requirements, like pre-funding future retiree health benefits. It would examine the Postal Service’s governing and regulatory framework.

A plan for success would:
•Leverage the Postal Service’s last-mile reach. As more and more Americans order products online, there is tremendous potential for boosting USPS revenues from parcel deliveries.
•Explore the expansion of services the Postal Service could provide. USPS currently faces numerous constraints on the types of products and services it can provide. Relaxing such constraints would allow the Postal Service to broaden its revenue sources.
•Give the Postal Service more flexibility in pricing its products. Such pricing would more accurately reflect the actual cost of providing a service and would allow it to better compete with private carriers.
•Provide relief from the burdensome requirement that USPS pre-fund future retiree health care costs for the next 75 years in just ten short years.

A Plan That Strengthens and Preserves its Most Important Assets

A thorough review would no doubt find ways to reduce costs, and part of that reduction could result in fewer employees. But it also would keep in mind that USPS employees are among the Postal Service’s greatest strengths, and that all Postal Service stakeholders and users must make concessions to adapt it to a 21st-century America and keep it in the black.

And such a review would recognize that what some consider a drag on the Postal Service " its legal obligation to provide service to every American home and business " is in fact a national asset. The Postal Service’s unmatched reach is part of what makes it more than just a business and so vital to American life. No private carrier wishes to take on that responsibility, and none will.

Congress should not settle for just slashing costs and battling over which service to keep or drop, but should instead begin developing a plan to revitalize the Postal Service in a way that makes sense for American life in the 21st century. If this Congress pursues thoughtful postal reform, it can go down in history as the one that started the revitalization of a great national institution, ensuring its success for years to come.

Waldorf , MD