(The Hill) — President Biden on Wednesday signed into law legislation reforming the U.S. Postal Service in a bid to increase transparency and stabilize the financial situation of what he called an essential agency.
Biden listed essential Postal Service functions during a bill-signing ceremony in the state dining room, which was packed with dozens of mostly maskless guests. He noted that letter carriers help deliver prescription drugs, bill payments for small businesses and the votes of millions of Americans.
“This bill recognizes the Postal Service as a public service and we ensure it can continue to serve all Americans for generations to come,” Biden said.
The bill, which passed the Senate last month and the House in February with bipartisan majorities, eliminates an existing requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits, which lawmakers had identified as a burden. financially important for the agency.
Attendees at Wednesday’s event included Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), House Whip House majority Jim Clyburn (DS.C.) and Senator Thom Tillis (RN.C.).
The legislation also sets transparency and delivery standards and requires mail to be delivered six days a week.
“You will be able to see in real time how well the Postal Service is performing for you and your community,” Biden said.
The postal service operated at a net annual loss for more than a decade. Post officials have previously warned that without reforms it could run out of cash for its operations by 2024.
“Of course, there are more areas where we want to see the Postal Service lead the way,” Biden said, specifically citing the need to upgrade and electrify his fleet of vehicles.
The agency has come under intense scrutiny in 2020 as mail-in voting has become a preferred method of voting for millions of Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeJoy in particular has been the target of outrage for lawmakers who have accused the Trump administration of slowing down mail processing and delaying the sending and receiving of ballots.
White House officials, including press secretary Jen Psaki, said last year that the Postal Service “needs leadership that can and will do a better job.”
Last year, Biden nominated three candidates to fill vacancies on the nine-person USPS Board of Governors. DeJoy remained at the helm despite speculation that the board, made up of a majority of Democratic appointees, could oust him.
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