NY Democrat urges postmaster general to reconsider stamp price increases

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) is urging U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reconsider raising price stamps by almost 8 percent, arguing it would have a “disparate” impact on those battling inflation and especially senior citizens.

The U.S. Postal Service earlier this month filed a notice with its regulators to spike the price of first-class stamps from 68 cents to 73 cents.

The 7.8 percent price increase, if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, would take effect July 14. The proposal would mark the second price hike this year and the fifth in two years.

The other proposed changes would increase the price of domestic postcards from 53 cents to 56 cents and international postcards from $1.55 to $1.65.

DeJoy previously warned postal users to get accustomed to “uncomfortable” rate spikes as the agency looks to repair its finances. The agency is expected to lose $6.3 billion this year.

Torres is now expressing his opposition to the proposed price increase, pointing to the impact the hike would have on low-income families and those without access to the internet.

“An 8% rise in the cost of stamps will have a disparate impact on those hit hardest by inflation, particularly senior citizens struggling to scrape by,” Torres said in a letter first shared with The Hill.

“When you are living on a fixed income, every dollar counts. When you find yourself at the wrong end of the digital divide, the postal service is not a luxury but a necessity. The US Postal Service has an obligation to ensure that the service it offers remains affordable to the lowest-income families who live on a fixed income and who lack access to the Internet,” the New York representative said in a letter sent Tuesday to DeJoy.

“I strongly urge the US Postal Service to seriously reconsider price increases that would compound the impact of inflation and impose a financial burden on those who can least afford it,” he said.

In a statement sent to The Hill, USPS said the price increases were needed to fix its finances.

“As changes in the mailing and shipping marketplace continue, these price adjustments are needed to achieve the financial stability sought by the organization’s Delivering for America 10-year plan. USPS prices remain among the most affordable in the world,” it said in the statement.

This story was updated at 4:42 p.m.

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