Why you may be receiving your packages late: An explainer

Have you been noticing USPS delays recently? The reason goes as far back as 2006. U.S Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives committee about the financial outlook of the Postal Service. DeJoy has recently come under criticism for his decisions which have caused “unacceptable delays” in mail deliveries across the United States. The USPS is staring down the barrel of a billion-dollar financial loss, an aging fleet of vehicles, and a workforce that has been gravely affected by Covid-19. As a result, declining mail volumes have affected 161 million US households.

DeJoy is going to face some tough questions when he testifies on Wednesday. Ron Bloom, who was elected last week as the new chairman of the U.S. Postal Board of Governors will also be attending the hearing. The hearing will likely focus on the Postal Services intention to raise prices, a move that will affect small businesses who can ill afford a rate increase.

Last year, when the pandemic was at its worst, the Postal Service needed an emergency cash infusion, a move outlined in the second stimulus bill that had been passed by Congress. However, President Trump strongly objected to that financial boost, claiming that the Postal Service had been bleeding funds for many years now, because of competition from the private sector. This is only half true. The reason for the USPS losing money goes back to 2006 when an act of Congress forced the agency to pre-fund retiree health and pension benefits instead of funneling money back into the post office itself. Today, there’s as much as $111 billion in USPS employee retirement accounts. This money can come back to the Postal Service if the Biden administration fires all six members of the Postal Board of Governors. However, since the White House hasn’t offered a timeline for this, we’re likely looking at a 7.5 percent increase in rates as early as July 2021.

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