NNA statement on the release of a report, ‘A Sustainable Path Forward,’ from President Trump’s Task Force on the USPS

The Department of Treasury Tuesday, released a report directed by President Trump on reform of the U.S. Postal Service. The following is the response of National Newspaper Association President Andrew Johnson, publisher of the Dodge County (WI) Pionier.

“This carefully-worded report offers stakeholders a menu of diagnoses and therapies to consider and digest. From the viewpoint of community newspapers, some of the observations in the Task Force’s report are ones that NNA has made itself. Others are ones NNA has considered and rejected.

“We particularly appreciate the Task Force’s recognition that the rural areas served by our members have unduly suffered from some of the therapies tried thus far. We also like the Task Force’s agreement with us that universal service is essential and that all areas of the country, including rural areas, must be fairly served. We believe any entity but the United States Postal Service will inevitably fail at providing that service, having seen the challenges faced by other nations who have experimented with privatization. But there are areas within the system where more involvement from the private sector would benefit the system.

“There are other aspects of the report, such as the recommended removal of the price cap on rates, that would cause our members great concern—unless it is carefully and successfully balanced by serious cost control and by a fair evaluation of the need of readers of newspapers and magazines to receive their Periodicals on time and at fair rates. We also do not agree that curtailing service should be left to USPS alone, as the USPS has proven in the past too prone to pulling that lever, without realizing the promised savings and reducing volume.

“As in many things, the devil will dwell in the details for the enabling of any solutions suggested by this report, and it is in the details that the U.S. Congress has often remained mired.

“Nonetheless, NNA appreciates the care and attention that has gone into the consideration of the grave situation facing the Postal Service. We expect to spend the next few weeks absorbing this report and considering our industry’s obligations and opportunities to share in solutions as the 116th Congress, a new USPS Board of Governors, USPS management and the Postal Regulatory Commission each define their own paths forward.” 

The full text of the report can be found here.

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