Senate Dems and Republicans reach a deal to save the US Post Office — but it faces opposition in the House

There's a bipartisan proposal to save the U.S. Post Office coming out of a coalition in the Senate Wednesday.

According to the Washington Post, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) reached enough co-sponsors to ensure a path forward to pass the bill, despite partisan acrimony.

"The legislation is a significant step toward resolving structural issues at the Postal Service, which has $188.4 billion in liabilities and has not come close to meeting its on-time delivery goals since July 2020," said the Post report.

Under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the USPS experienced a large increase in mail volume and staff shortages, while implementing slow-downs and slashing the number of sorting machines used in postal centers. DeJoy has been called to Congress four times and faced questions about the slowness of ballot delivery during the 2020 pandemic election.

"DeJoy, with the support of the Postal Service's governing board, plans to slow mail service and raise prices while pivoting the agency toward parcels and away from paper mail. The plan predicts a 36-percent drop-off in mail volume over the next decade. However, with increased investment in package shipping the agency can break even by 2023," said the report.

But since DeJoy announced his plan, new President Joe Biden has confirmed two members of the USPS board who oppose it.

What Democrats have agreed on is the annual retiree healthcare costs. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, passed by a Republican House demanded that the USPS pay expenses ahead of time, forcing USPS to give all of its money to pay future costs. Democratic officials have argued that the requirement meant the USPS can't fully fund new technology and equipment as a result, said the report.

Experts say that even with the financial changes there's still a problem with the USPS being used for packages. Businesses simply aren't using it. The theory is that if USPS can ensure package delivery just as effectively as private companies they can get some of the business back.

House leadership, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), has a plan that would allow the USPS to offer other services like selling hunting and fishing licenses, and other local government services. It would help those in rural America, who must typically travel to their county seat for such licenses when a Post Office is likely closer.

It's unclear if the deal can move through the House or if Senators would be willing to make a deal with Maloney.

Read the full report from the Washington Post.