Reps. Graves, Cleaver Lead Calls to Halt Further Rate Increases from US

January 25, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, U.S. Representatives Sam Graves (R-MO) and Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) led a cohort of fellow lawmakers calling on the U.S. Postal Service to halt price increases on stamps, following the agency’s record-breaking fourth rate increase in the last eighteen months. The need to address the failings of the Delivering for America Plan and turn around performance issues of the USPS must be addressed to legitimize a price hike for consumers.

In a letter to USPS Board of Governors Chairman Roman Martinez, the lawmakers wrote: “We write to express concern over the negative impact these frequent rate increases have had on mail volume, customer volume, the overall financial viability of the USPS, and the pocketbooks of our constituents. While price increase may increase profit on one side of their ledger, USPS’s leadership has failed to acknowledge the adverse effects price rates have had on their bottom line.”

The lawmakers continued: “Given last fiscal year’s disastrous financial results and widespread service issues, we once again echo our concerns regarding the Delivering for America plan, and believe the USPS must pause and reassess its aggressive rate increase strategy. Since USPS management has indicated it does not intend to deviate from twice-yearly postal rate increases, at least through 2026, it is the responsibility of the USPS Board of Governors to intervene before more damage is done to the financial viability of the U.S. mailing industry and the long-term sustainability of the USPS.”

In 2021, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced his Delivering for America Plan to make the USPS more efficient, competitive, and profitable, forecasting the agency to break even in Fiscal Year 2023. Despite the reforms and rate increases included in the Delivering for America Plan, not only did the USPS not break even, the agency lost $6.5 billion last fiscal year. Furthermore, the USPS expects to lose another $6.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2024, even after accounting for additional price increases on stamps.

Since the Postmaster General’s appointment, Congressman Graves and Cleaver have voiced numerous concerns with the USPS about performance issues in Western Missouri. In October 2022, Reps. Graves and Cleaver sent a letter to Postmaster General Dejoy expressing concerns about the agency’s failure to fulfill their congressionally mandated duty to provide six-day mail delivery. In December 2022, the Postal Service responded with complaints about low unemployment rates in the Kansas City region and encouraged residents to apply to work on the USPS, without offering a plan for the agency to meet their mandate. This must be addressed and a plan in place prior to raising prices for consumers.

In March 2023, Reps. Graves and Cleaver called on Postmaster General DeJoy to deliver a plan to address mail delivery delays, fulfill the USPS’s legal obligation to deliver mail 6 days per week, and listen to the concerns of Kansas City residents that had been frustrated with the performance of their local USPS branches. Following that letter, the USPS OIG announced they would conduct an audit of delayed mail and delivery operations in the Northland and the Kansas City area. The audit was completed in August of last year.