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USPS Slammed for "Unsustainable" Price Hikes as Lawmakers Demand Change

They say the agency is "continuing to implement changes that are harmful to Americans."

If you've been paying attention to the prices at your local post office, you might have noticed they went up just a few months ago. Under the leadership of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) raised the prices of mailing services by around 2 percent at the end of January. But the agency plans to raise them once again in the coming months—and lawmakers are now demanding a change to what they're calling "unsustainable" USPS price hikes.

RELATED: 6 Major Changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Has Made to the USPS.

In an April 9 press release, the USPS announced that it had filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of proposed changes to its mailing service prices. This would be one of the biggest price hikes the agency has ever presented, aiming for a 5-cent increase on the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp and a 7.8 percent increase overall.

"As changes in the mailing and shipping marketplace continue, these price adjustments are needed to achieve the financial stability sought by the organization's Delivering for America (DFA) 10-year plan," the Postal Service explained in its release, noting that its prices would still "remain among the most affordable in the world."

If approved by the PRC, the new prices would go into effect on July 14.

It's unlikely that regulators from this independent federal agency would deny the Postal Service's price hikes—having done so most recently in 2010, when they said that the USPS "failed both to quantify the impact of the recession on its finances and to show how its rate request relates to the resulting loss of mail volume," CNN reported.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are trying to do what they can to prevent the proposed increase. A group of U.S. senators led by Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin sent a letter to the USPS Board of Governors on April 23, urging them to "take decisive action to halt these changes and prevent further consequences for American families and businesses who depend on USPS to meet their needs."

The Board of Governors, whose members are appointed by the President of the U.S. and include the current Postmaster General, "directs the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service, directs and controls its expenditures, reviews its practices, conducts long-range planning, approves officer compensation, and sets policies on all postal matters," according to the USPS website.

The senators indicated that they're concerned about the future of the USPS and its DFA plan, which DeJoy kicked off in 2021.

"While it was a step forward to produce a transformative plan, the policies to date have led to diminished quality of customer service, unsustainable postage increases, and drastic declines in businesses whose commerce relies on USPS," they wrote. "USPS relies on both mail and packages for its revenues, yet since 2020, USPS has delivered 12 billion fewer pieces of mail, bringing volume to its lowest level in 40 years, while seeing no offsetting increase in package volume."

RELATED: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Stands by USPS Changes Amid Massive Delays.

Under DFA, DeJoy plans to raise mail prices twice every year—once in January and once in July—in order to optimize the agency's revenue. But lawmakers claim that these price hikes are actually doing the opposite and creating a "destructive and repetitive cycle" instead.

"As USPS increases rates, mailers predictably reduce their mail volume and, in turn, USPS is forced to increase rates again to replace the lost revenue from volume reduction," the senators stated in their letter.

Ultimately, they've concluded that the twice-annual price hikes have failed to show any sign of improving the Postal Service's financial situation and could make it worse in the long-run.

"We have a vested interest in seeing USPS succeed. Our constituents rely on it for their daily correspondence, bills, lifesaving medications, and sometimes, their livelihood," the senators wrote. "It has become clear that under the DFA, USPS is continuing to implement changes that are harmful to Americans and the American businesses that rely on the service. As the Board of Governors, you must step in before further harm is caused."

Best Life reached out to the USPS about these concerns, and we will update this story with the agency's response.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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