Sen. Chuck Schumer discusses the postal reform bill at a news conference outside a midtown Manhattan post office Sunday. Credit: Linda Rosier

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday the Senate will begin voting this week on a bipartisan bill to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service, with an eye on improving delivery times.

The bill, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed Tuesday, would provide about $50 billion in savings to the Postal Service over 10 years and codify six days of mail delivery, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The Postal Service Reform Act would be the agency’s biggest overhaul in over a decade, Schumer said.

"We've heard so many complaints from Long Islanders — of all different stripes and professions and postal needs — complain how late the mail is," Schumer told Newsday.

The bill would "speed up delivery times" by allowing the Postal Service to invest in more personnel and better equipment after years of cutbacks, Schumer said.

"This is my stamp of approval for postal reform and getting the post office moving again," Schumer said during a news conference outside a midtown Manhattan post office.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), would over a decade save the Postal Service $22.6 billion by requiring future retirees to enroll in Medicare and $27 billion by eliminating a mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits, according to an oversight committee report.

The Postal Service would probably run out of money by 2024 otherwise after 14 years of deficits, according to the committee that Maloney chairs.

The bill, co-sponsored by more than 100 Congress members from both major parties, also would create an online dashboard of postal performance data.

On Long Island, mail delivery slowed during the pandemic, according to a July Newsday report Schumer cited Sunday.

In 2020, 91.6% of mail was delivered on time. By mid-2021, only about 83.8% was.

The slowdown affected small businesses, as well as the delivery of birthday cards, pension checks and medication, Schumer said.

Delivery times improved by the end of 2021, with 89.5% of mail delivered on time, according to the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.

Chuck Zlatkin, who represents Long Island and New York City for the American Postal Workers Union, said the bill "is going to enable us to continue to do our work delivering mail to people in a timely fashion."

Schumer said he will bring the bill to the Senate floor for a procedural vote Monday, with a full vote expected at a later date.

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