What is a postal service?

Proposed legislation passed this month by the House Government Reform Committee calls for a major overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service and lays out a narrow definition of a postal service:

"'Postal service' means the carriage of letters, printed matter or mailable packages, including acceptance, collection, processing, delivery, or other services supportive or ancillary thereto."

The legislation would also:

Categorize postal services as either market-dominant products or competitive products, which are subject to separate new accounting rules.

Require income and expenses from competitive products to be segregated in a Treasury Department revolving fund that will be called the Competitive Products Fund.

Define an assumed federal tax on income from competitive products offered by USPS and require the amount of that assumed tax to be transferred each year from the Competitive Products Fund to the main Postal Service Fund.

Authorize USPS officials to conduct a study of universal mail service and submit a report to Congress one year after the legislation is enacted.

Source: Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (H.R. 4341)

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