Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding bringing the House-passed bipartisan postal reform bill to the Senate floor for a vote before the Presidents’ Day recess. Senator Schumer also provided an update on negotiations over a full year agreement to fund the government. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Yesterday, by a margin – a large margin – of 342 to 92, Congress took the first step towards enacting the most important upgrade to our Post Office in decades, by passing a bipartisan reform package that’s been years in the making.
With an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in the House, it is my intention for the Senate to quickly take up and pass this bipartisan, bicameral postal reform bill. We hope to take action here on the floor and pass the bill before we go to the Presidents’ Day recess.
The Post Office is quite simply one of the most important institutions of American life. Every day, tens of millions of Americans—veterans, small businesses, people living in rural communities, seniors—rely on the Postal Service for their medicines and prescriptions, for getting essential goods, for voting, for correspondence, for their livelihoods, and to get close to one another on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries and things like that.
But nevertheless, our Postal Service has needed reform for over a decade. Its budgets are severely strained, its delivery services are overwhelmed, and the disruptions unleashed by the internet have made it harder for it to meet its obligations to the American people and to its own employees. Every one of us has heard objections about letters arriving far too late. In many instances, whether they be checks that people depend on for their livelihoods or prescription drugs or whatever, these complaints are growing and growing and growing.
The bipartisan postal reform bill offers a much-needed reset: it will guarantee delivery services continue six days a week, it will put the Post Office on a path back towards solvency, and it will ensure that we take care of our dedicated postal workers while also saving the Post Office over $50 billion.
Let me summarize again: if this legislation is passed it would ensure continued six day delivery service, make deliveries more efficient and timely, and will put the post office on a path towards stability.
I want to recognize my colleagues who have made it possible for this legislation to move forward. First, I thank my friend and colleague Senator Peters—the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee—for his leadership in bringing this bill together.
I also want to thank Ranking Member Portman, for working across the aisle on this common-sense reform bill. And I want to thank all my House colleagues who worked assiduously for a long, long time pushing for postal reform. Both the Chair and Ranking Member of the relevant committees supported the bill on the floor of the House yesterday.
I have always said Democrats will work on a bipartisan basis whenever we can to pass commonsense legislation that will improve the lives of the American people.
Last year, bipartisan cooperation helped clear the way for such things as the historic Anti-Asian Hate Crimes bill, a much-needed competition bill, and our bipartisan infrastructure package.
This work period alone, we have already made great progress on bipartisan priorities like ending forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault. As I’ve mentioned, we will soon also act on the Post Office.
And I expect both sides will support passage of the short-term CR that will keep the federal government open before next week’s deadline. I want to thank the appropriators from both sides of the aisle for working in good-faith, and I am optimistic that soon they will arrive at an agreement for an omnibus package, which is far more preferable to the alternative of a year-long CR. We're getting very, very close to doing to an agreement on top-line numbers, and as I said, I am more optimistic than I've been in a very long time that we will get an omnibus bill done for government spending for the rest of the year.
So all these priorities—forced arbitration, postal reform, and government funding—are bipartisan items that I expect the Senate will act on before the recess.
As I have always said, from my first day as majority leader, we will work in a bipartisan way whenever we can. We did it in our first year, with things like the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes legislation, the Competition bill, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure package, and these two weeks now represent a productive continuation of that commitment.
So on this issue, I am optimistic that very soon, we will see the first major reform of America’s postal system in decades. It will be a win for our dedicated Postal workers and for the American people who rely on the Post Office every single day.