Senator Collins says no way to postage rate hike
But the senator who coauthored the law allowing USPS to file what's called an "exigent rate case" told the Postal Regulatory Commission on Monday that it shouldn't approve the hike this time.
At issue is a clause in the 2006 Postal reform law that allows the mail agency to raise prices beyond inflation in the event of "extraordinary or exceptional circumstances."
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told regulators that they should dismiss the case because the Postal Service's current financial condition "is not the result of 'extraordinary or exceptional circumstances' required by law to initiate an exigent rate case."
"I envisioned that this authority would be limited to very few and extreme instances, such as terrorist attacks, the anthrax case, and natural disasters," Collins wrote. "For example, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or the anthrax attacks later that year could serve as the basis for an exigent rate case. These events had profound effects on the Postal Service well outside normal business cycles. No similar circumstances exist today."
The Affordable Mail Alliance -- a coalition of hundreds of companies and nonprofits opposed to rate increases -- thanked Collins for her support, saying she "understands better than anyone else why the Postal Service’s increase would cause severe hardship to businesses and customers across the nation."
But the Postal Service stands by its request to raise rates. "We're pleased the PRC is moving forward with hearings on our request," said spokeswoman Joanne Veto.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who coauthored the bill with Collins, said he's concerned about how customers and businesses would be affected by a postage rate increase.
"That said, the Postal Service is clearly in a difficult position as it tries to shore up its finances," Carper said in a statement. "I will be closely following the proceedings before the Postal Regulatory Commission as they consider the merits of the Postal Service’s request.”
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