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Senate passes bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act co-sponsored by Rep. Comer

Graham Ambrose

It codifies into federal law a minimum of six-day delivery for letters and packages, a key element for rural advocates.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act co-sponsored by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who is the ranking minority member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The legislation ensures the continuation of six-day mail delivery, a key element for rural advocates, by codifying into federal law the minimum delivery schedule for letters and packages.

“All Americans, whether they live in rural communities or big cities, rely on the Postal Service, so it’s in everyone’s interest to see it succeed in this mission,” Comer said in a press release from his office. “The bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act, coupled with Postmaster General [Louis] DeJoy’s reform plan, modernizes USPS to ensure it operates like a 21st-century business that provides reliable service to the American people. I’m proud of the bipartisan work Chairwoman Maloney and I have accomplished and look forward to the bill becoming law.”

The legislation passed 79-19 in the Senate. Kentucky’s Republican senators were split on the measure. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, voted in favor, but Sen. Rand Paul opposed it.

In the House, the vote was 342-92. Among Kentucky’s six congressmen only Rep. Thomas Massie voted against the legislation.

President Biden is expected to sign the reform act.

“This is a monumental victory for letter carriers and all Americans who depend on the Postal Service for affordable and high-quality universal service,” National Association of Letter Carriers president Fredric Rolando said in a statement.

Among cost-saving measures, the legislation ends a mandate that the Postal Service pay in advance for employee health benefits, and it requires future retirees to enroll in Medicare.

Rural newspaper advocates lobbied for the reform act.

“One feature of the long-debated bill would allow newspapers to mail sample copies to non-subscribers in their home counties at the same rate they pay for delivery to subscribers,” The Rural Blog, a publication of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, wrote. “The current limit is 10% of annual home-county circulation, enacted more than a century ago. The bill would make it 50%, which would only enable more sample-copy subscription appeals but provide total market coverage for advertisers that don’t normally advertise in newspapers.”

This story was originally published by the Hoptown Chronicle.

Jennifer P. Brown is the founder and editor of Hoptown Chronicle.
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