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Postmaster general's new plan could include slower mail and postage hike

This comes as the postal service under Louis DeJoy has already seen serious delays in mail delivery over the past several months.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is set to implement a new strategic plan that includes higher postage rates and the elimination of first-class tier of mail, two sources familiar with the move told to NBC News on Friday.

The plan to eliminate first-class mail, which includes letters, magazines, catalogs, among others, would slow down mail that typically arrives within two days and make it more costly to deliver for both consumers and businesses.

The Washington Post first reported this story.

The paper reported that all first-class mail would be lumped into the same three- to five-day window as non-local mail. This comes as the postal service under DeJoy, a top donor for former President Donald Trump, has already seen serious delays in mail delivery over the past several months.

“Now is not the time to aggressively increase prices when so many businesses are struggling and hanging on by a thread," Hamilton Davison, the president of the American Catalog Mailers Association said.

Davison added that higher prices “will force more mail out of the system and contribute to a postal system death spiral.”

DeJoy’s plan is subject to change before it’s formally introduced, one source cautioned.

In an emailed statement, DeJoy noted the plan is not yet final, but declined to provide additional details.

“Over the past eight months, our executive leadership team has been working on developing a comprehensive 10-year strategy to address the serious but solvable challenges of the Postal Service that commits to six and seven day a week delivery service,” DeJoy said, adding that the Board of Governors supports the proposed strategic plan. “This work is not only needed, it is long overdue,” he added.

The postal service has posted annual losses for more than a decade. The agency announced a net financial loss of $9.2 billion last year.

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The House Oversight Committee is set to hold a hearing on Feb. 24 with DeJoy and other USPS stakeholders to “examine legislative proposals to place the Postal Service on a more sustainable financial footing going forward,” the committee said in a statement.

Congressional Democrats and postal union leaders are urging President Joe Biden to overhaul the Postal Service’s leadership by filling four open seats on the Board of Governors. The board has the authority to replace the Postmaster General.

“Whoever the Postmaster General is, we need a strong postal Board of Governors in terms of setting the policy and the direction, and we believe that's on the fingertips of this president now to get done quickly," said Mark Diamondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union.

The White House said in a statement on Monday that Biden is focused on filling the board vacancies with nominees who “reflect his commitment to the workers of the U.S. Postal Service — who deliver on the post office’s vital universal service obligation.”