Oversight Republicans demand long-promised Postal Service business plan in wake of dismal government watchdog findings

Published: May 8, 2020

Today the Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan requesting that she finally provide the Committee with the USPS proposal for a sustainable, long-term business plan that was promised over a year ago.

The letter follows just one day after a report from the Government Accountability Office found that the United States Postal Service — which it placed on its high-risk list in 2009 — “is not financially sustainable” under its current business model “due to declining mail volumes, increased compensation and benefits costs, and increased unfunded liabilities and debt.” The report added that without substantial legislative structural reforms from Congress, “USPS’s mission and financial solvency are increasingly in peril.”

In their request to Postmaster General Brennan, the lawmakers explained that a long term business plan is necessary to evaluate the USPS’ current request for billions of dollars in taxpayer money and noted that they’ve been waiting for the plan to be released for well over a year.

Highlights from the letter:

“On April 9, 2020, a Member of the Committee requested an electronic version of the long-term business plan and reforms to transform its business model. You indicated that you would provide the Committee with the plan in follow-up correspondence. Then, during a staff level follow-up briefing the next day, April 10, 2020, the Deputy Postmaster General confirmed that the Board of Governors has approved plans for long-term reform but noted that USPS has no plans to share these reforms until Congress has considered the additional financial assistance.”

“Last month’s briefing was not the first time we have requested a business plan from the Postal Service and received empty promises. In January 2019, then-Ranking Member of the Government Operations subcommittee Mr. Meadows requested a 10-year plan from the USPS.”

“The business plan was promised again three months later during a House Committee on Oversight Reform hearing in April 2019 where you stated that the plan was being finalized and committed to the Chairman and Ranking Member that USPS would provide a plan in 60 days. A final 10-year business plan never materialized. This is unacceptable.”

“The need for a long-term plan is clear: providing billions of dollars in emergency appropriations will only delay insolvency, not eliminate it. Providing the business plan will allow Congress to engage in meaningful and productive negotiations regarding a path forward for USPS.”

Read the full text of the letter here.

Background:

  • House Democratshave repeatedly pushed to bail out the postal service without implementing long-needed reforms.
  • In January 2019, the committee asked the USPS for a financially stable business plan. USPS promised a plan by that summer, but never produced it.
  • Last month, Committee member Fred Keller (R-PA) again inquired about a financial stability plan during a briefing with Postmaster General Megan Brennan, but one has still yet to be produced.
  • The Oversight Committee has a responsibility to review and require reforms before engaging in earnest policy reform discussions.
  • The GAO has found that in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the Postal Service’s net losses totaled approximately $78 billion from FY 2007-2019 and its productivity has plummeted in recent years.
  • At the end of FY 2019, USPS’s unfunded liabilities and debt totaled $161 billion—an amount more than double its annual revenues.

What members are saying:

“The Postal Service’s business model is failing and simply throwing more of taxpayers’ hard-earned money at them won’t fix their problems,” Ranking Member Jim Jordan said of the GAO report’s findings. “If Congress is going to be asked to get the Postal Service out of yet another fiscal jam, we owe it to the American people to make sure we aren’t just setting them up for yet another bailout the next time there’s an emergency. The USPS needs to be a self-sufficient, competitive enterprise, and a legislative overhaul for the long-term is the only way to make it one.”

“The U.S. Postal Service’s twelve consecutive years of revenue losses are a clear indication that there is a dire and long overdue need for fundamental reforms,” Government Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jody Hice said of the GAO report. “The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated these pre-existing problems, but the Postal Service’s mission is far too important for Congress to allow it to fall victim to its own structural flaws and failures by senior leadership. Simply writing a bailout check for billions of dollars is not a serious solution. Now is the time to address these challenges head-on. We have an opportunity to right the ship and set it on a course for long-term sustainability.”