Wake-Up Call For The USPS: Senate Bill Would Limit Rate Hikes For Publishers

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation to limit excessive postal rate increases for periodicals while improving service. 

The Deliver for Democracy Act would force the U.S. Postal Service to meet “reasonable on-time delivery standards before raising rates,” says co-sponsor, Senator Peter Welch (D-VT), who is leading the effort along with Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) 

The bill is also supported by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

The Deliver for Democracy Act would require that:  

  • The USPS either achieve at least a 95% on-time delivery rate for periodicals or an improvement of at least 2 percentage points to unlock its 2% surcharge authority for that class of mail.  
  • The USPS annually report to the Postal Regulatory Commission on its progress in including on-time delivery data for newspapers in its periodical service performance measurement. 
  • The Government Accountability Office submit a report to Congress on options for alternate USPS pricing schemes to improve the financial position of periodicals.  



The senators argue that the Postal Service has routinely failed to achieve the 95% on-time delivery performance standard outlined in Postmaster General DeJoy’s 10-year plan despite significant rate increases.

Local news offers a “crucial alternative to online information ecosystems, which are too often distorted by algorithms that amplify disinformation and confine readers to inescapable echo chambers,” Welch says. “But surging rate increases and poor service jeopardize local news outlets’ ability to reach readers and supply the information so essential to an engaged citizenry and a vibrant democracy.” 

“In North Dakota, a dependable postal service isn’t a luxury — it’s a lifeline for our rural communities, and that’s exactly why I support the Deliver for Democracy Act,” Cramer adds. “Publications around North Dakota rely on the USPS for delivery, and a troubling pattern has emerged where rates have increased, coupled with a noticeable decrease in reliability.” 

Klobuchar notes that this legislation will “assist local papers by requiring the Postal Service to maintain reasonable delivery standards before raising their fees.”  

The bill is supported by the News/Media Alliance and National Newspaper Association. 

“Our members are being forced to cope with unsustainable rates from the monopoly postal system,” says Danielle Coffey, president and CEO of the News/Media Alliance. 

John Galer, chairman, National Newspaper Alliance, comments, “This bill highlights the responsibility of the USPS to accurately measure the service newspapers receive and will hold it accountable for failing to meet its service standards.”




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