Postmaster General Louis DeJoy unveiled a sweeping austerity plan for the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday that he said would focus the loss-ridden agency on its growing package business.
DeJoy’s proposals include the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation, with longer first-class delivery windows, reduced post office hours, and higher postage prices. Items sent further than 930 miles would take as many as two additional days to be delivered.
Under the 10-year “Delivering for America” plan, the Postal Service would also open 45 package processing annexes nationwide to expedite shipping. It projects its package business will grow by 6% to 11% through 2025 as consumers maintain online shopping habits acquired during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re out to get more packages on our carriers, get more packages in our trucks,” DeJoy told The Washington Post, adding, “I’m not chasing mail volume down because I’m going where we see growth.”
The postmaster general told Congress in February that the U.S. mail system is losing $10 billion a year. “I would suggest that we are on a death spiral,” he said.
The plan includes a target to operate at breakeven by fiscal 2023, which would eliminate a projected $160 billion in losses over the next 10 years. The plan includes the generation of $24 billion in revenue from enhanced package delivery services for business customers, such as same-day, one-day, and two-day delivery options.
But as the Post reports, DeJoy’s plan to make up the USPS’s mammoth shortfalls “largely depends on Congress repealing a retiree health care pre-funding mandate and allowing postal workers to enroll in Medicare.”
Additionally, DeJoy has been under fire from Democratic lawmakers and other postal advocates who believe he attempted on former President Donald Trump’s behalf to sabotage mail-in voting before the November election.
On Tuesday, House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat, slammed what she called DeJoy’s “unacceptable decision to make permanent slower mail delivery,” while Rep. Gerry Connolly, Democrat from Virginia, said he had proposed “a draconian plan that guarantees the death spiral of the United States Postal Service.”
According to Forbes, “DeJoy is likely to push forward with his changes to the agency in spite of Democratic opposition, particularly as his changes are backed by the USPS’s existing board members.”
“Are we going to come together in a bipartisan way and ask, ‘Do we want what’s good for the Postal Service?’ or do we want to play politics?” board chairman Ron Bloom said.
“The need for the U.S. Postal Service to transform to meet the needs of our customers is long overdue,” said Postmaster General DeJoy.