Nonprofit Group Urges Congress to Keep Discounted Postal Rates
After nonprofit postal rates avoided elimination in the 112th Congress, Independent Sector is seeking an early commitment from members of the 113th to protect the existing rate structure in any new measure to reform the postal system.
As the 113th Congress gets underway, postal reform will be on the agenda once again. Last week, Independent Sector (IS), a leadership network for nonprofits, foundations, and charitable organizations, sent a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cal.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, reminding him of his commitment to retain the discounted nonprofit postage rates.
“Changes to the nonprofit preferred rates would significantly increase mailing costs for nonprofit organizations,” the letter stated. “The nonprofit sector simply cannot afford substantial increases in mailing costs, especially at a time when individual donations are down and the demand for services has increased.”
Last summer, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers successfully led efforts to have language removed from a Postal Service reform bill, H.R. 2309, that would have eliminated the discounted rates.
“Congressman Issa deleted that provision in June 2012 after the Alliance and its allies raised the issue,” said Alliance Executive Director Anthony Conway. “The Alliance and its allies spent at lot of time on the Hill communicating with Congressman Issa and other key House members about the issue. We’re quite confident that the provision is dead.”
The House failed to vote on the bill before the end of the 112th Congress, however, prompting Independent Sector’s follow-up letter.
“What we’re doing now is … thanking Chairman Issa and his staff for their willingness to work with us last year, and just as a reminder, asking them before the legislation is introduced that it not contain the provision affecting nonprofit postage rates,” said Geoff Plague, vice president of public policy for IS. “We don’t have any reason to believe that it will be, but it’s a comprehensive bill and this is a relatively minor provision, so rather than assume that it would be removed, we just wanted to make a friendly request that it be.”
While IS and the Alliance are confident the provision will remain out of any future bill, Plague said he understands the U.S. Postal Service is facing major financial troubles.
“We are mindful of the fact that there are certainly costs associated with putting the Postal Service on more solid financial footing, and that there is great interest in finding ways to reduce costs or increase revenue for the Postal Service,” he said. “We just want to make sure that this is not something that gets viewed in the future as a way to increase needed revenue.”
ASAE, a member of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, continues to support the nonprofit postage discount.
“Red ink is really starting to become an issue with the Postal Service,” said Jim Clarke, CAE, senior vice president of public policy for ASAE. “Being able to maintain the nonprofit rates is something we will be watching very closely.”