Special, preferred postage rates for nonprofits have existed since being authorized by Congress in 1951. To qualify for Nonprofit Standard Mail rates, an organization must be a nonprofit organization organized and operated for a qualifying primary purpose (religious, educational, scientific, charitable, agricultural, labor, veterans, fraternal; certain political committees may also qualify). Under current law, the nonprofit discount rate is 40 percent.
Independent Sector and its members sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) expressing support for preserving the nonprofit postage discount rate in legislation introduced in the 113th Congress. Click here to read the letter and see who signed.
Legislation in 112th Congress (2011-2012)
The 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011
On November 2, 2011, Senators Lieberman (ID-CT), Collins (R-ME), Carper (D-DE), and Scott Brown (R-MA) introduced bipartisan postal reform legislation (S. 1789) to address the financial situation of the USPS.
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs approved the bill in a markup on November 9 by a 9-1 vote. On April 25, the Senate voted 62-37 to pass S. 1789 after considering several amendment and waiving a point of order that the $34 billion cost of the legislation violated the 2011 Budget Control Act. The Senate bill as amended maintained the current nonprofit postage discount rate.
Postal Reform Act of 2011
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced legislation (H.R. 2309) to reform the United States Postal Service. A companion bill (S. 1625) was introduced in the Senate by Sen. John McCain in late September. Among the cost-saving measures in the bill was a provision that would significantly reduce the discount that nonprofits receive on postage rates.
On October 13, 2011, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved H.R. 2309 by a vote of 22-18, clearing the legislation for consideration by the full House. The legislation passed, amended, with language that would delay for three years the implementation of the Section 403 provision and changes the reduction of the discount rate from 10% to 20% for nonprofit postage.
Senior staff from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform shared with Independent Sector that H.R. 2309 would be modified to preserve the nonprofit postage discount rate, by removing Section 403 from the bill prior to consideration on the House floor.
Independent Sector and its members have been actively engaged with legislation co-sponsors and key committee staff to share with them the importance of maintaining the current nonprofit postage discount rate. Due to these efforts, postal reform legislation in both the House and Senate dropped key provisions that would have significantly reduced the nonprofit discount rate.
IS began this effort in late 2011, sending a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and a similar letter to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) urging them to drop provisions in their respective postal reform legislation that would have reduced the discount rate.