As Congressional leaders work to resolve differences in the House and Senate versions of postal reform legislation, the Direct Marketing Association on Sept. 25 called for cooperation among key mailing industry stakeholders as a debate has surfaced over Parcel Post rates that is threatening to undermine the postal reform efforts.
Postal reform bills are awaiting action by a congressional conference committee. The House has not yet named its conferees, but the Senate has. Reform bill H.R.22 passed last summer, and S.662 passed in February.
The DMA and other mailing industry groups are holding their breath as the 109th Congress draws to a close to see if postal reform will pass. Reform bills await action by a Congressional conference committee, and the 109th session ends on Oct. 1, although a lame duck season will likely begin Nov. 13.
DMA remains consistent in supporting the Senate version of the bill, which includes a “hard cap” on postal rate increases for all classes of mail that would be tied to the rate of inflation.
Some representatives of the private sector parcel delivery industry are pushing language in the House bill that could result in an increase of up to 40 percent in Parcel Post rates – the benchmark that many private carriers use for setting their own delivery fees.
Not only would the House language result in higher costs to consumers for sending packages either through the mail or private carriers, the DMA said, the current debate poses a serious threat to the effort to pass postal reform legislation before Congress adjourns for the year.
Without the legislation, all mailers face significantly higher costs that could ultimately result in drastic reductions in mail volume and further revenue losses for the US Postal Service and the businesses – both upstream and downstream – that rely on the USPS, the DMA said.