President’s Commission on the Postal Service

In 1967, a presidential commission on the Post Office Department met at a time when Congress subsidized 25 percent of postal costs, and the Post Office Department was in the red. In August 1970, the Postal Reorganization Act was signed into law, creating the United States Postal Service under an economic assumption that continuing growth in mail volume and revenue would support the continued growth of the postal infrastructure — a model that no longer is valid.

In a March 2001 letter to the President, the Postal Service Governors stated that significant statutory reform was needed to continue to provide consistent, satisfactory, universal service to the American people.

On December 11, 2002, President George W. Bush issued an executive order establishing the President’s Commission on the Postal Service. The nine-member bipartisan commission was to identify the operational, structural, and financial challenges facing the Postal Service; examine potential solutions; and chart a course to build a healthy financial foundation. Postmaster General John E. Potter described the work of the commission as consistent with, and complementary to, the Postal Service’s Transformation Plan.

Gathering information from postal stakeholders, including congressional leaders, union officials, postal employees, customers, and other representatives of the nation’s $900 billion mailing industry, the commission issued its report, Embracing the Future, to the President in 2003. The report called for the Postal Service to remain a public institution subject to broader oversight, to focus on universal mail service as its core value, to be guided by the best business practices, to overhaul the postal network, to clarify the postal monopoly, and to maintain a culture of excellence.