In a letter filed with the PRC as part of the docket considering the rate proposal, Senator Susan Collins, co-author of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), wrote the following :
As the author of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of2006 (PAEA), which grants the Postal Service the limited authority to file an exigent rate case, I want to make the congressional intent regarding the provision completely unambiguous as the Postal Regulatory Commission considers the pending Postal Service request. Neither the language nor the legislative history of the PAEA authorizes the United States Postal Service to file an exigent rate case under the current circumstances.
During the 2007 rulemaking process for the exigent rate case authority, Senator Tom Carper and I sent a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) explaining that the exigent rate authority in the PAEA was intended to be used sparingly. Specifically, the letter explained that the “extraordinary or exceptional circumstances” required to initiate an exigent rate case under the PAEA exist only if “terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other events … cause significant and substantial declines in mail volume or increases in operating costs that the Postal Service cannot reasonably be expected to adjust to in the normal course of business.”
This letter lays out the express intent of the legislation, along with supporting legislative history. I urge the PRC to rely on it as you consider the Postal Service’s request. As the author of the exigent rate authority, I can attest that the provision was not intended to be used under the current circumstances. Indeed, the Postal Service’s current financial condition is largely the result of its own failure to sufficiently update its business model to adapt to predictable and natural cyclical changes in the economy and mail usage. The Postal Service’s financial condition is not the result of “extraordinary or exceptional circumstances” required by law to initiate an exigent rate case. As such, I urge the PRC to dismiss the case.
The PRC’s approval of an exigent rate increase under these circumstances would be inconsistent with the law and would undermine the intent of PAEA to provide predictability and stability in postal pricing. In light of the express requirements of the statute and its supporting legislative history. I urge you to follow the letter of the law and reject the Postal Service’s exigent rate case proposal.