After years of suffering through funding shortages, mail delays, and a myriad of other political disasters, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is finally getting a reprieve with the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, which will “provid[e] the agency with a much-needed financial overhaul.”
In a rare occurrence in modern day times, the law was backed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. At the signing of the legislation, President Biden remarked, “It is no exaggeration to say the Postal Service is essential as it ever was, as it’s ever been today.” President Biden also noted, “Today we enshrine in law our recognition that the Postal Service is fundamental—to our economy, to our democracy, to our health and the very sense of who we are as a nation…This bill recognizes that the Postal Service is a public service, and we’re ensuring that it can continue to serve all Americans for generations to come.”
According to CNN, the new law will “require the USPS to create an online dashboard with local and national delivery time data…[and] will require retired postal employees to enroll in Medicare when eligible, while dropping a previous mandate that forced the agency to cover its health care costs years in advance.” The law also “mandates that USPS deliver mail six days a week” and in the future, it will not be able to cut service.
Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters, said “This bill, which has been 15 years in the making, will finally help the Postal Service overcome burdensome requirements that threaten their ability to provide reliable service to the American people,” and expects the bill to save the organization $50 billion over the next ten years.
Senator Mitch McConnell doesn’t think Congress went as far as they should have, calling the law “a skinny bill by all measures…This bill buys us time to have a conversation about the future of the post office…The urgent conversation we turn to now is what should the future of the post office look like?…The vast majority of the budget shortfall at USPS can be attributed to the pre-funding mandate that the bill eliminates…Eliminating it removes the biggest excuse for the service cuts and price hikes that postal customers have experienced since Louis DeJoy became Postmaster General. We have seen that austerity logic leads to short-sighted decision-making, and that leads to slower, more expensive mail for all of us.”
With voting by mail still being such a contentious topic, ensuring the optimal functioning of the agency is critical. Beto O’Rourke, candidate for governor of Texas, is an ardent believer in the agency, “I have full confidence the Postal Service can handle an election, could handle three or 4 million ballots…They proved they could do it the last time around…They deliver between 10 and 12 billion pieces (of mail) at Christmas…Election is a day at the beach for those guys.” Lexington Institute postal service expert, Paul Steidler agrees, “election mail ‘is a very small fraction of the total amount of mail that the postal service handles.”
While these upcoming changes will hopefully mark the beginning of on time arrival for packages, many will continue to delight in the hilarious memes generated by social media users “[i]n response to the crisis and discourse about the fate of the USPS.” One such popular meme compares tracking between UPS, FedEx, USPS, and Amazon and can be seen on this Reddit post, which was also shared widely via Twitter and Instagram.