New Post Office Plan Could Mean Longer Deliveries and Higher Prices

Mail could start arriving a lot more slowly in the coming weeks.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced Tuesday first-class mail delivery standards will change amid an ongoing effort to stabilize the U.S. Post Office.

DeJoy, 63, said the plan will also entail cutting hours at some post offices across the country and hiking postage rates.

"This is about the long-term viability of the organization under the two missions that we have that are legislated, that is deliver to every house six days a week and be self-sustaining," DeJoy said during a webinar this week, according to The Associated Press.

The changes are part of DeJoy's Delivering for America plan, which aims to avoid $160 billion in projected losses over the next decade.

As The Washington Post reports, the growing number of problems the Post Service has faced for years came to a head in 2020.

Americans sent about 40 billion fewer pieces of first-class mail in 2020 than they did in 2008, due to advances in technology and the ongoing pandemic.

Such items include letters, cards, bills and most everything that fits in an envelope. The Post reports first-class mail makes the Postal Service's the most money, but many have turned to the internet to pay their bills or communicate with friends and family over the last decade.

According to the AP, DeJoy said the biggest change would be increasing the timeframe first-class letters can be delivered, moving from one-to-three-days up to a one-to-five-day delivery window.

However, DeJoy said the majority of first-class mail—roughly 70%—would still be sent within the three day timeframe.

The plan aims for as much as $81 billion in new revenue based on price increases, though it's unclear how that would shake out for consumers.

The Post estimates price hikes would be roughly 9%, which might not mean much of an increase for a single letter, but could impact businesses that send large batches of first-class mail, such as banks sending monthly statements.

"The Postal Service's problems are serious but, working together, they can be solved," DeJoy said in a statement Tuesday. "Our 10-year Plan capitalizes on our natural strengths and addresses our serious weaknesses."

The postmaster continued: "It ensures that we can better meet the nation's evolving delivery needs, and do so with the higher degree of efficiency, precision and reliability that our business and residential customers expect and deserve. It can and must be done."

DeJoy has been under intense scrutiny in recent months, particularly in the run-up to the November presidential election.

After coming to the Postal Service in 2020, DeJoy came under fire for a series of cost-cutting measures that led to delayed mail over the summer, just as millions were casting mail-in ballots to avoid voting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeJoy, a massive GOP donor, was accused by critics of sabotaging the agency to benefit Donald Trump, though he has denied those claims.

Democrats have been pressuring the Biden administration to oust DeJoy, with Virginia Sen. Mark Warner tweeting last month: "I don't know any member of Congress who has any kind of confidence in the postmaster general. It's past time for DeJoy to go."

President Joe Biden currently has three nominees to the USPS Board of Governors who await their confirmation votes. If confirmed, Democrats would have a majority, meaning the board members would have the votes to remove DeJoy—though, it remains unclear if they would do so.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently made it clear Biden, 78, would like to see "better leadership" at the helm.

"I think we can all agree, most Americans would agree, that the Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job," Psaki, 42, said during a press briefing last month, adding, "It's up to the Board of Governors, of which we just nominated three individuals to serve, to determine the future of leadership there."

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