On April 25th, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to shore up the United States Postal Service (USPS) and preserve the ability of small online retailers to access postal services.
eBay sellers collectively constitute a USPS “super-user” and are the Postal Service’s single largest package customer. As such, the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) is of critical importance to the eBay community of users.
eBay Government Relations actively engaged in the Senate debate over Postal Service reform, working with lawmakers to pass legislation that ensures affordable and timely shipping options. The following provisions of the Senate-passed legislation support the eBay community of users:
- S. 1789 prevents the USPS from shortening the delivery week from six to five days for two years. The bill also requires that the USPS utilize other cost-saving measures before taking steps to shorten the delivery week.
- S. 1789 seeks to preserve delivery standards by requiring the USPS to consider alternatives before closing post offices. The bill also requires that communities and businesses be given sufficient opportunity to provide feedback when a USPS facility is slated for closure. During debate of the bill, Senator Merkley of Oregon objected to facility closers and spoke in support of eBay users that rely on the Internet. Watch his comments below:
Today’s small businesses that use the Internet must compete with large multichannel retailers that blend their online business with a vast physical presence that includes a store in nearly every community. These provisions ensure small Internet retailers can compete by preserving their ability to send their customers products in a timely fashion.
Of note, S. 1789 did not include language to increase shipping rates. eBay Government Relations worked with industry partners to defeat amendments that would have jeopardized access to affordable shipping options.
Small business retailers compete with volume-driven shipping prices offered by their larger competitors. If USPS mailing rates were to go up, eBay’s users would pay the cost either directly or down the road after higher rates have driven volume out of the system.
The below articles provide additional details on the 21st Century Postal Service Act:
- New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/us/politics/senate-passes-bill-to-overhaul-postal-service.html
- Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304811304577366341665567810.html
- National Journal: http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/senate-passes-bill-to-help-shore-up-u-s-postal-service-20120425