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National Newspaper Association criticizes continuing postage rate increases

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A House Committee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service has received a statement from the National Newspaper Association and others in a broad coalition of mailing and package shipping groups that criticizes the twice-yearly postage increases implemented by USPS. 

The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21), a group to which NNA has belonged since C21’s founding, issued a statement for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in response to a May oversight hearing in which only Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was invited to testify.  C21 represents organizations that amass more than $1.6 trillion in annual sales from mailing-related activities, which amounts to about 5% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

The Postal Service’s Delivering for America plan has driven total increases in Periodicals postage of around 35% since January 2021.  Any good news from the plan has been overshadowed, C21 told Congress, by “relentless, twice-yearly, postage rate increases endangering the Postal Service’s mail business and destructive to small and medium-sized businesses and consumers often considered the backbone of American employment.”

Meanwhile, publishers and other mailers have seen declines in postal productivity, slower mail and rising concerns about the sustainability of universal postal service.

Although the USPS plan, known as the DFA, has been in effect since 2021, this year’s hearing was the first attempt at oversight conducted by a Congressional committee.  The C21 coalition noted that the Postal Regulatory Commission, which has little power over USPS operations, had allowed the major rate increases while being able to exercise little influence over productivity declines.  C21 called for Congress to re-examine the regulators’ mission.

“NNA has not been alone in expressing anxiety over the future of USPS,” NNA Chair John Galer, publisher of The Journal-News in Hillsboro, Illinois, said. “At the root of the problem is the reluctance of Congress to take responsibility for its role in USPS’s current situation. We have rising rates, declining service and a postal system that is now trying to compete with private package delivery services while it puts its core mail function on the back burner. We have been experiencing the consequences of flaws in the DFA for two years now.  It is time for Congress to get back into the postal reform game.”

The C21 statement is available here

<Member Alert C21 statement.docx>
<C21 Statement for the Record May 2023 Final.pdf>
<John Galer headshot>

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