US House passes bill, co-sponsored by Alaska delegation, to fix the Postal Service’s financial woes

A row of mailboxes peek out from a snow berm on on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska.(Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

The U.S. House passed a bill Tuesday to improve the financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service.

It got an enthusiastic yea from Alaska Congressman Don Young, one of the co-sponsors.

“Now you may wonder why I’m so excited about this bill,” Young said on the House floor. “Try living in Alaska when you don’t have any roads. Try not having anything but your post office. Try not getting your medicines … . The post office is the key to the communities in Alaska. This bill solves all the problems for the post office.”

The bill is a rare piece of legislation in Congress these days because it aims to fix longstanding problems without going after big partisan wins.

A key feature is that it eliminates a requirement that the Postal Service fund retiree benefits 75 years in advance. That change is projected to save the service more than $100 billion over the next decade. It also shifts retiree medical insurance to Medicare.

The bill requires mail delivery at least six days a week and supports Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year reform plan.

Left-wing Democrats wanted the bill to better protect voting by mail, but the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., resisted loading the bill with elements that could hurt its chance of passing.

The bill’s prospects are good in the Senate, where it has more than two dozen co-sponsors, split between the parties. Both Alaska senators are co-sponsors.

It passed the House 342-92. Members of the Freedom Caucus and other right-wing Republicans voted no.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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