To All With Catalog Interests:
While mailers are still reeling from the postal exigency ruling from three weeks ago, it could very easily go from bad to worse unless we act quickly and aggressively. Yesterday, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) agreed on a proposal for postal reform legislation. In it, the rates and governance section (Section 301), revised from last year, contains language that could lead to far-worse rate hikes than the 4.3% exigency increase, while freeing the USPS up to make final rate decisions, effectively stripping the powers of its regulator. It’s imperative that the industry respond in a forceful way to oppose Section 301.
Take Action Today (as in, January 17th, 2014 – today)
Your message is simple: The industry is strongly opposed to Section 301 as outlined in the proposal by Senators Carper and Coburn. This section would make permanent the 4.3% rate increase sought by the Postal Service as an exigent rate increase. What’s more, it would further allow annual increases of CPI + 1% on top of that exigent increase.
As for governance, the section also would effectively remove the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) from an active role in reviewing and deciding on rate proposals. That will give the USPS, a federal monopoly, full unilateral control over its rate setting process.
As you may recall, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has been leading an effort to strike Section 301 from the bill. But with Section 301 now beefed up making it far worse, ACMA is urging ALL catalogers and suppliers to immediately contact the Senate offices listed below to express opposition to this section and demonstrate your support for Baldwin’s amendment to strike it.
Your Core Message
- A rate increase of 4.3% plus CPI + 1% results in an increase of more than four times the rate of inflation;
- The Postal Service is a monopoly. This section essentially removes the PRC from oversight of the postal rate setting process leaving a federal monopoly with monopoly power;
- If Section 301 is eliminated entirely, the industry will still face a 5.9% increase for each of the next two years followed by CPI rate increases annually;
- If Section 301 were eliminated, the proposal would have broad support.
Please take note of the last of these bullet points. ACMA and the broader mailing industry group we partner with, the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, supports the rest of the proposed Senate reform bill, provided Section 301 is eliminated. It’s effective to note that when urging your senator to support the Baldwin Amendment.
Who To Contact
Please contact the following Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee if you have any sort of presence in their states – namely your headquarters, fulfillment center, clusters of employees, suppliers, etc.: Tom Carper, Chair; Tom Coburn, Ranking Member; Carl Levin (D-MI); John McCain (R-AZ); Mark Pryor (D-AR); Ron Johnson (R-WI); Mary Landrieu (D-LA); Rob Portman (R-OH); Claire McCaskill (D-MO); Rand Paul (R-KY), Jon Tester (D-MT); Mike Enzi (R-WY); Mark Begich (D-AK); Kelly Ayotte (R-NH); Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
Other Senate Targets
Also, contact the following key senators: Kay Hagan (D-NC); Al Franken (D-MN); Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); Joe Manchin (D-WV); Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Susan Collins (R-ME); Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
All this has the potential to ultimately make the December exigency ruling look like a walk in the park. Mailers must make their voice heard immediately as we expect this may move quickly. So whether you’re an ACMA member or not, if you care about the future affordability of catalogs in the mail, you must act now – do not delay. Please be sure to cc firstname.lastname@example.org if you contact your Senator via email. As always, Paul Miller and I are available to help you – please don’t hesitate to ask.