Postal reform passed

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President Bush signed into law postal reform legislation last month that provides for the first major overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service since 1971.

Dubbed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, it will ensure predictable price increases in postal rates by tying them to the rate of inflation, and will enable the Postal Service to continue its transformation and cost-cutting measures.

The new law is the culmination of a 12-year effort by Congress to change the laws governing the Postal Service. Among its major tenets, the law reconstitutes the Postal Rate Commission into a regulatory body with greater authority and responsibility.

Another major change is that the Postal Service will no longer be required to fund an escrow account for employees who have also served in the military. Under the new law, the liability to fund military retirement will be returned to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Treasury pays military portions of retiree benefits for most government entities.)

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