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Aug. 9, 2022, 6:56 p.m. EDT

DeJoy says post office needs to raise postage rates again because of inflation

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is going to add over $1 billion to the U.S. Postal Service budget, necessitating a request for another rate increase in January, but the service is well prepared for the November election, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday.

The Postal Service has already delivered about 40 million ballots to and from voters along with a total of 550 million COVID-19 test kits, DeJoy said.

“Americans should be confident that the United States Postal Service is well prepared and will provide extraordinary services in these coming November elections,” he told the Board of Governors.

Third-quarter results for the first time reflected a sweeping congressional overhaul — leading to a non-cash benefit of nearly $59.6 billion. But DeJoy cautioned against reading too much into the one-time benefit, without which the Postal Service would’ve suffered an adjusted loss of $459 million.

From the archives (May 2022): DeJoy: Postal Service customers better get used to ‘uncomfortable’ rate hikes

See: In reversal, Postal Service to boost purchases of electric vehicles

“The fact of the matter is that we have a long road and a lot of hard work ahead in our 10-year transformation to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the Postal Service,” DeJoy said.

The quarterly results were the first to reflect an overhaul signed into law by President Joe Biden in April.

The Postal Service Reform Act lifted requirements that contributed to the agency’s red ink, like prepaying future retiree health benefits — an obligation that private companies and federal agencies do not face. It also cemented a requirement for mail delivery six days a week.

DeJoy, a campaign backer of former president Donald Trump, who picked DeJoy in May 2020 to head the post office , came under fire over mail delays, changes in postal logistics that critics feared would undermine voting by mail amid the pandemic, puzzling equipment decisions,

From the archives (September 2020): Postal chief DeJoy under fire over alleged campaign-finance violations

Also (August 2020): House approves bill to halt Postal Service changes blamed for delays, send $25 billion to boost USPS ahead of election

And (August 2020): Trump has now admitted he’s blocking financial rescue of post office to curb role of mail-in votes in November election

More (August 2020): Critics of Trump White House decry latest ‘Friday night massacre’ as postmaster general sidelines two dozen USPS officials

Several members of the public who spoke at the meeting implored governors to increase the number of electric next-generation delivery vehicles and to ensure that union workers build them.

The first of those new vehicles will begin rolling next year, with half the first batch of 50,000 vehicles being powered by electricity.

As for postal rates, DeJoy previously warned that they’re going to be necessary, especially in the face of inflation.

Rates last went up in July with the cost of a first-class Forever stamp increasing by 2 cents to 60 cents.

MarketWatch contributed.

From the archives (February 2022): Biden signs into law Postal Service bill saving 6-days-a-week mail delivery across U.S.

And (October 2021): U.S. Postal Service is testing paycheck-cashing service at some post-office locations

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