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Restore USPS to financial health | READER COMMENTARY

U.S. Postal Service turns a profit. For now. (Joey Weatherford/Tribune Content).
U.S. Postal Service turns a profit. For now. (Joey Weatherford/Tribune Content).

In August 2020, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy ordered the removal of high-speed sorting machines from some post office facilities and required the reduction or elimination of overtime pay for employees. Those changes, combined with an increase in the volume of mail processed for the election and during the holiday season, exacerbated an already untenable situation for the United States Postal Service.

In addition, the USPS is drowning in debt as a result of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that mandated pre-funding the health benefits of postal service retirees, a practice required of no other federal agency (”Mail delivery woes start with USPS retirement burden,” Feb. 19).

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In February 2020, with bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the USPS Fairness Act, whose principal aim was to repeal the retiree pre-funding health care mandate. However, the bill languished in the U.S. Senate. Recently, the measure was re-introduced in the House (H.R. 695) and in the Senate (S. 145).

The necessity to pass the USPS Fairness Act must not be underestimated. Abolishing the crippling pre-funding mandate will finally allow the Postal Service to reestablish a firm financial foundation. It will also pave the way for investments in infrastructure and the introduction of innovative services that have long been overdue.

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Pamela Bluh Van Oosten, Columbia

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