Latest News and Highlights  

President Proposes Privatizing the US Postal Service On Thursday, June 21, the Executive Office of the President of the United States released a report titled:  "Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations".  Starting on page 68, the plan discusses privatizing the Postal Service. The summary states: This proposal would restructure the United States Postal System to return it to a sustainable business model or prepare it for future conversion from a Government agency into a privately-held corporation. Like many European nations, the United States could privatize its postal operator while maintaining strong regulatory oversight to ensure fair competition and reasonable prices for customers. The President’s Task Force on the United States Postal System will make recommendations on reforms towards this goal in August 2018.

Postal Reform Act of 2018 Introduced On Thursday, June 14, Representative Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Postal Reform Act of 2018. The bill is similar in intention to HR756 and has six co-sponsors including both Democrats and Republican representatives.

House Passes STOP Act On Thursday, June 14, the House passed the latest version of the Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act (H.R. 5788) on a 353-52 vote. The legislation would bring requirements currently enforced on private shipping companies to the Postal Service by 2021, when the mailing agency would transmit advanced electronic data, or AED, to Customs and Border Protection on 100 percent of international packages. USPS, which currently only collects the data on 40 percent of inbound international packages, would have to pass on the information on 70 percent of packages by the end of this year. The agency would face civil penalties starting in 2021 if it continues to allow international shipments without AED to enter the country. Most foreign packages would face a $1 fee to cover the costs of additional customs processing. The House bill will now head to the Senate, where it already has bipartisan backing.

CPI Rises 0.2% in May 2018 On Tuesday June 12, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted; rising 2.8 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in May (SA); up 2.2 percent over the year (NSA).

White House Announces Intent to Nominate Postal Commissioner On Wednesday, June 6, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Michael Kubayanda of Ohio, to be a Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission for the remainder of a six-year term expiring November 22, 2020. Mr. Kubayanda serves as a board member and privacy officer for a digital health startup.   Michael previously worked with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Postal Service, ending as director of government relations, in which he worked with OIG officials to support the work of inspectors general in data analytics.

USPS Releases 2017 Household Diary Study On Wednesday, June 6, the Postal Service released the 2017 Household Diary Study (HDS). The HDS, which USPS has produced annually since 1987, examines how households use the Postal Service, and how usage of USPS by households varies according to demographic and other variables. The HDS examines mail by the markets it serves. The survey collects household information on:  Volumes of mail sent and received; Demographics; Attitudes toward mail and advertising; Bill payment behavior and Use of the Internet and other information technologies. 

USPS Releases 2018 Q2 Finances For the quarter, USPS posted a net loss of $1.3Bn, with slight revenue increases offset by cost increases, particularly in transportation and salaries & benefits. To date this year, USPS has lost $1.9 Bn. For the three months ended March 31, 2018, First-Class Mail revenue decreased $166 million, or 2.5%, and volume declined 521 million pieces, or 3.4%, compared to the same period last year. For the three months ended March 31, 2018, Marketing Mail revenue decreased $15 million, or 0.4%, and volume declined by 179 million pieces, or 1.0%, compared to the same period last year. Package volume for the quarter increased by 6 percent, while revenues increased by 9.5%. A copy of the USPS’ 10-Q filing can be found here.

Report Revisits Alternate CSRS Payout Methods Responding to a congressional request, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) has updated estimates of the postal portion of assets within the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) fund, using two different calculation methods: one proposed by the OIG and the other by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in 2010. The OIG concluded that the current OPM method “is disproportionate,” while an alternate approach would more evenly divide responsibility and reflect modern accounting and actuarial practices.

PRC Evaluates USPS 2017 Performance and 2018 Performance Plan The Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued its analysis of the U.S. Postal Service fiscal year (FY) 2017 Annual Performance Report and FY 2018 Performance Plan. The Commission’s review finds that, for the first time, the Postal Service’s FY 2018 Plan complies with legal requirements, and the FY 2017 Report meets most of the requirements. 

Senator Gillibrand Unveils Bill to Create a Postal Bank. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced major new legislation to create a Postal Bankwhich would establish a retail bank in all of the U.S. Postal Service’s 30,000 locations. The Postal Bank would effectively end predatory payday lending industry practices overnight by giving low-income Americans, particularly communities of color and rural communities, access to basic banking services that they currently don’t have

Task Force on the United States Postal System. On April 12, President Trump issued an Executive Order establishing a "Task Force on the United States Postal System". The Task Force has broad authority to investigate issues impacting the Postal Service and the broader postal ecosystem and will "consider the views of the USPS workforce; commercial, non-profit, and residential users of the USPS services; and competitors in the marketplace." A report from the TF is due within 120 days of the issuance of the executive order.

Senate Hearings on Board of Governor Nominees. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs has scheduled hearings Wednesday April 18 to examine the nominations of David Williams, of Illinois, Robert M. Duncan, of Kentucky, and Calvin R. Tucker, of Pennsylvania, each to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service. Information about the hearing can be found here. 

The Postal Regulatory Commission releases Financial Analysis Report.The Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission) released its Financial Analysis report, which analyzes the overall financial position of the United States Postal Service in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.  In FY 2017, the Postal Service recorded its first net loss from operations, since FY 2013, of $1.3 billion, largely due to declining mail volume, the expiration of the exigent surcharge, and higher operating costs. However, including non-cash workers’ compensation costs and retirement expenses, the net loss from operations increases to a total net loss of $2.7 billion in FY 2017. This is an improvement of $2.8 billion compared to the total net loss in FY 2016. 

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