After fifteen years of intensive effort, I am thrilled to report that the President signed the Postal Service Reform Act into law today. This is a tremendous accomplishment. It is said that victory has a thousand parents but defeat is an orphan. In that vein, it is certainly appropriate to recognize the leadership of Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jim Comer (R-KY) and Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) who shepherded the most recent version of postal reform through to enactment this Congress. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) have also provided vital support throughout this period and helped encourage their colleagues to support this bill. We also compliment Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the leaders of the postal unions who remained committed to the consensus reform model and provided their full support.
It is also important to recognize the efforts of individuals that were instrumental to this outcome but are no longer serving. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) was the original sponsor of reform legislation that formed the basis of the bill enacted today and former Postmaster General Megan Brennan led the effort to bring all of the stakeholders together in 2015 to hammer out the basic framework of the compromise that had eluded everyone for nearly a decade.
I also want to recognize the leadership of my predecessor and our immediate past president, George White, who masterfully led the GCA’s public affairs engagement. It is no accident that Sen. Portman turned out to be a leader on postal reform in sharp contrast to his predecessors. George consistently engaged the Senator and led our Ohio members in conveying our support for postal reform.
We are grateful for the efforts of American Greetings which provided resources and Hallmark Cards, Inc. who contributed mightily and made available staff leadership to coordinate grassroots and grasstops advocacy including Erin Brower and her predecessor, Sarah Moe who also served as chair of the Public Affairs committee throughout the development and launch of this legislation. Their support in providing the expertise in ad hoc social media advocacy programs and more recently the Keep US Posted campaign helped provide a platform for both GCA members and the public to push Congress to act, delivering tens of thousands of e-mails and messages to Congress over the last several years.
GCA members also played a big role in responding to those engagement opportunities. Over the years you have stepped up to join the campaigns and add your names to letters to Congress. Your steadfast support has helped get us to this day and I thank you. And I commend Nora and her team at GCA for ensuring that the membership received the information about these opportunities and ensuring that the GCA’s social media program supported them.
It is appropriate to reflect on what has been accomplished through the combined efforts of the GCA Public Affairs engagement. In that original meeting led by Postmaster General Brennan, GCA was one of only a handful of mailing groups at the table where this bill was negotiated because of its leadership on postal issues. Later, GCA mobilized industry support for including the provision to make the 6-day delivery standard permanent, and our counsel, David Stover, provided the original legislative language to accomplish it. There is no doubt that the GCA was one of the key leaders in shaping this bill by defeating counterproductive measures early in the process, determining the content of a good compromise, and bringing in the permanent 6-day delivery standard which eliminates the need for an annual renewal that has taken place since the early 1980s.
This bill is a huge step forward but there is more work to do. The Postal Regulatory Commission must ensure that the rate limits for our citizen mailer customers and all mailers reflect the financial benefits of the new law. This important point is further highlighted by the announcement released today by the USPS that the price of the Forever Stamp will be increased by $0.02 on July 10, 2022, in addition to price increases for an additional ounce (increasing from $0.20 to $0.24), and non-machinable surcharge for square envelope (increasing from $0.30 t0 $0.39). Congress must recognize that we live in a dynamic world with new challenges emerging all the time and should be prepared to take further action to ensure the stability of the USPS and its customer base. Postal legislation should not be a once-in-a-generation proposition.
GCA will continue to advocate for our members and customers to achieve these goals and address new challenges and with your support, will continue to have a tangible impact on outcomes to sustain our industry.