Sanders Outlines Plan to Strengthen Postal Service

WASHINGTON, June 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) outlined his plan to strengthen the United States Postal Service in a letter Thursday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the chairman of the president’s task force on the Postal Service.

“Unfortunately, for decades, the Postal Service has been under attack by those who want to profit off of the Postal Service’s failure. Their solution is to slash hundreds of thousands of jobs, close thousands of post offices, eliminate hundreds of mail processing plants, end Saturday mail and substantially slow down mail delivery,” Sanders wrote. “It is time to save and strengthen the Postal Service, not dismantle it.”

In April, President Donald Trump ordered a federal task force to investigate the finances of the Postal Service, which the order claimed is on an “unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.”

“The Trump Administration is right to take a serious look at the U.S. Postal Service. But it would be a disaster if the President or members of his Administration believe that the ultimate solution is to privatize the Postal Service, the most popular government agency in America,” Sanders wrote in the letter.

Sanders includes several recommendations to help the Postal Service succeed and thrive into the 21st century, without moving toward privatization and endangering the jobs of the 640,000 Americans employed by the Postal Service.

Sanders’ recommendations include ending the prefunding mandate, part of a George W. Bush-era law that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund 75 years of retiree benefits to employees who haven’t been born yet. No other private business or government agency is burdened with such a requirement, which costs the Postal Service about $5.5 billion every year.

He also recommends allowing the Postal Service to provide basic financial services and other new consumer products and services – currently, it is against the law for workers in the post offices to make copies of documents, deliver wine or beer and wrap Christmas presents. Sanders would allow the Postal Service to recover $50 billion in overpayments it made to its retirement program, end the artificial price cap on stamps which is costing the system $2 bill a year and reinstate overnight delivery and speed up service standards.

“There is no question that the Postal Service needs to become more entrepreneurial to meet the changing needs of the digital revolution, but the answer is not to make mail delivery slower,” Sanders wrote in the letter. “The answer is not to radically downsize or privatize the Postal Service. The answer is not to eliminate good-paying jobs. The answer is not to devastate rural communities by closing their post offices, closing mail processing facilities or ending six-day mail delivery.”

To read the letter, click here.