MacArthur insists USPS end surprise rate spike; seeks House oversight investigation

U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) has taken a stand against unanticipated postal rate increases on behalf of non-profit organizations that send care packages to American service members deployed overseas.

Rep. MacArthur sent two letters on Feb. 5 seeking solutions to United States Postal Service (USPS) rate increases, which his office said have resulted from consolidation of postal centers that process APO/FPO military mail and subsequently created an increased financial burden for nonprofits that ship military care packages abroad. By consolidating five processing facilities located throughout the country into one located in Chicago, the USPS is in effect increasing the total amount nonprofits pay to send packages to troops overseas by increasing the initial domestic shipping distance and cost.

“I ask that the USPS reverse these rate changes so that nonprofit organizations can continue their efforts to support our military overseas,” MacArthur wrote in one letter to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan and USPS Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Robert G. Taub.

“Some nonprofits, such as Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey, will see a drastic increase in postage costs that will severely limit the number of packages they can afford to ship,” MacArthur wrote, noting such packages provide needed comforts and morale boosters for U.S. service members.

While nonprofits appreciate that postal rates need cyclic modifications to sustain finances at the USPS, the congressman wrote, “significant increases such as this, without advanced notice, have harmed their ability to provide this valuable service to the members of our Armed Forces.”

Rep. MacArthur also wrote House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and the committee’s Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) to request that the panel investigate the rate increases and their impact on the work of these nonprofit organizations. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over the USPS.

New Jersey nonprofits and local officials endorsed MacArthur’s requests for action on the matter.

“Our efforts to send supplies overseas are going to be severely hindered by this sudden and inexcusable rate increase,” said Dave Silver, president of Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey, who is also a resident of Marlton, N.J. “I join Congressman MacArthur’s call for the USPS to reverse course on this decision, so we can continue to support our military.”

In a joint statement, New Jersey’s 8th Legislative District officials — Republican Sen. Dawn Addiego and Republican Assemblymen Joe Howarth and Ryan Peters — said, “It was beyond troubling to hear that the United States Postal Service had such a sharp increase in rates without any warning and we are joining in Congressman MacArthur’s call for them to reverse course.”