President-elect Joe Biden has many plans to improve the U.S. Postal Service, many of which could benefit marketers. However, if the Senate approves President Donald Trump’s candidate for a board of directors that makes decisions on much of what USPS does, the leadership of the postal service could be dominated by its Republican candidates even after Biden took office.
On December 14, Trump released a statement stating that he would nominate Roy Bernardi, the former deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to the USPS Board of Governors, a company that oversees matters such as increasing postage January 24th decides 1.8% for First Class Mail and 1.5% for other categories. The Senate has yet to approve Bernardi, and it’s mostly on hiatus before Biden takes office – but he’ll meet at least a couple of times during Trump’s remaining tenure.
When asked how he believes Bernardi’s appointment could affect direct and marketing mail and e-commerce shipping and packages, USPS media manager David Partenheimer declined to comment, simply saying, “The US Postal Service will all qualify Welcome members to the board. A decision reserved for the President and the Senate, which are charged with appointing and confirming board members. “
Bernardi did not respond to a request for comment on his plans for the USPS should he be appointed. Biden’s transition team also didn’t answer questions emailed to the press office.
Which means no change to USPS policy
As a candidate, Biden pledged to provide emergency funding to the USPS in order to survive the pandemic and be able to charge “affordable prices” for his services.
That won’t happen now.
Although the stimulus plan has given the USPS an earlier $ 10 billion pandemic operation loan, one of Biden’s primary concerns is the postal agency’s debt. In particular, he pledged to work to remove the USPS’s obligation to pre-finance employee pensions. This obligation costs the Post billions every year, which the US Government Accountability Office claims not to have. In May, that bureau estimated that the USPS “has lost over $ 78 billion in recent years due to declining mail volumes and rising costs.”
While package volume and revenue increase, both first class and marketing emails decrease. For example, Ikea sent 200 million copies of its catalog in its main shipping year, 2016. However, the Swedish furniture giant recently announced that autumn 2021 will be the final shipping of its 70-year-old catalog. (USPS is missing out on Ikea’s parcel delivery business going to XPO.)
Without any change, the postal service itself assumes that no more cash will be available by October 2021. This could have a direct impact on individual customers who send their mail through the USPS, and even companies like Amazon and UPS, which USPS frequently use expensive and labor-intensive “last-mile” delivery of their packages.
Where the USPS leadership could be leading
The current composition of the Trump-nominated and Senate-approved board of directors consists of two Democrats and four Republicans, including Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy, who also has voting rights.
Since the rules state that only five members of the same party can be represented on the nine-member board, Bernardi would be the final Republican candidate. However, since DeJoy is a voting member, there would be six Republican votes on the board. Even if Biden could nominate candidates for the remaining seats and that board selected a Democrat as deputy postmaster general (which is also an electoral position), the six Republicans would still dominate an 11-member board. (Trump did not specify in his statement on Bernardi that his candidate would replace Democrat Ron Bloom, whose term ended on December 8, but who will be serving a “waiting year” until the end of 2021.)