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AZ Groups Back Measure to Reform Postal Service

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Friday, July 9, 2021   

PHOENIX -- Supporters and customers of the U.S. Postal Service in Arizona and elsewhere are pressing for Congress to pass a bill to shore up the troubled agency.

Two versions of the bipartisan 2021 Postal Reform Act are winding their way through committees in the U.S. House and Senate.

John McHugh, a former congressman from New York who served as Secretary of the Army until 2015, who is now the chairman of the Package Coalition, a group of businesses including Amazon and eBay that rely on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their goods, said the bill would allow the Postal Service to restructure its crushing pension obligations without cutting benefits to current retirees.

"That'll give them the opportunity to right the ship, from a budgetary perspective," McHugh explained. "To make those critically important overdue investments into their infrastructure, their truck fleet, into the kinds of things that will help them become more efficient, more effective and more affordable."

The bill would also lock in the Postal Service's commitment to continue delivering mail and packages Monday through Saturday to more than 160 million addresses across the U.S. The agency has requested another postage rate hike, which could go into effect in August.

McHugh pointed out if the Postal Service is forced to raise prices, private package carriers would benefit and Arizona businesses, especially those in rural areas, would lose access to affordable delivery service.

"They rely upon packages for everything from prescription drugs to essential household goods, to food," McHugh outlined. "So that's a capability that we think is critically important and needs to be preserved."

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 500,000 small businesses in the state that employ more than 1 million Arizonans.

McHugh thinks losing Postal Service access could cost thousands of workers their jobs.

"There are those, particularly private express carriers that compete against the Postal Service in this area, who would like to see the Postal Service become less efficient, so that they can increase their prices," McHugh contended.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who took over during the Trump administration, supports the reform bill. He has proposed a 10-year plan, which would emphasize the more profitable package-delivery business.


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