During a recent call, however, Michiganders called out their GOP congressmen for not supporting the Postal Service Reform Act, which was signed into law last week.
Need to Know
- President Joe Biden signed a postal reform bill that requires mail delivery six days a week and that the agency report delivery times to the public.
- The bill sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters will benefit Michigan’s rural and tribal communities to get timely delivery of medications, paychecks, and voting ballots.
- Rural residents called out Republicans like Reps. John Moolenaar and Bill Huizenga, who voted against the bill despite leading rural districts
MICHIGAN—Even as so much of society goes digital, Michiganders still depend on the mail to deliver crucial necessities, including medications, Social Security checks, family correspondence, and vote-by-mail ballots. And, because we’re still living in a pandemic, COVID-19 test kits.
As the only entity delivering mail to every single address in Michigan at a flat rate, the United States Postal Services (USPS) is a vital government service to all Michiganders. After years of struggling, the postal service will soon be on more stable footing thanks to new bipartisan legislation that overhauls its finances. As a result, mail will be delivered six days a week.
Sponsored by Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 will especially make a difference for seniors, rural communities, residents living on Native American reservations, and in other places that are hard to reach. The bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden last week.
“We love our post office, and we’d like to see it thrive,” said Elspeth Inglis, a resident in a rural area of the 2nd District. “It became really apparent, especially during COVID, when I started ordering things online more, how valuable the USPS is to me when some vendors use the private delivery services [which] at times, refuse to drive down my driveway [as] we have a long driveway off a dirt road.”
Although the bill was approved unanimously by the Democratic caucus, Republicans like Michigan Reps. Bill Huizenga, John Moolenar, and Lisa McClain did not offer any support. Former President Donald Trump, still a formidable leader in the GOP, aggressively targeted USPS during his presidency, making false claims of mail-in voting leading to widespread voter fraud in 2020.
Union leaders and people who live in rural areas of Michigan spoke to the media last week to express relief and celebrate Biden signing the Postal Service Reform Act. Residents of Republican-leading districts called out their lawmakers for voting against the bill, which will help improve and expand postal services in their rural communities.
“Many voters in our County are dismayed that Rep. John Moolenaar and many of his Republican [colleagues] continue to vote against the interests of his rural constituents,” said John Helge, a resident of the 4th District, which includes parts of northern and central Michigan. “I believe that they will pay a price for their complacency in November.”
In addition to saving nearly $50 billion over the next decade by eliminating pre-funding requirements for employees and having them enroll in Medicare instead when eligible, the new legislation also includes new transparency standards. A new online dashboard will help USPS be accountable for delays.
Additionally, the postal service will be allowed to partner with state, local, and tribal governments to find new sources of revenue, such as hunting and fishing licenses, that provide enhanced value to the public.
While agencies like the USPS were always intended to be nonpartisan in the past, the last presidential election saw the postal service becoming a political flashpoint as Republicans attempted to discourage the use of voting by mail option.
Interestingly, a 2020 survey by Pew Research Center noted 91% of Americans—with equal shares of Democrats and Republicans—had a favorable view of the USPS. But prior to the 2020 presidential election, the Trump administration blocked emergency aid in the the CARES Act and a congressionally approved emergency loan for the USPS. The former president also threatened to veto any future emergency funds.
“It’s always mystified me why representatives from rural areas wouldn’t sign onto this legislation,” said Roscoe Woods, legislative director for Michigan Postal Workers Union. “I’m incredibly grateful that this legislation has passed.”
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