House advances bipartisan postal banking amendment
Yesterday, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment backing the Postal Service’s expanding its offering of postal financial services.
Introduced to a federal appropriations bill, the amendment expresses the House’s support for the Postal Service exercising its existing statutory authority to offer a wider range of postal financial services. The Postal Service could, without a change in law, expand its money order services, allow customers to cash checks and pay bills at the post office, install ATMs, and expand and enhance wire transfer services. These services, which are a feature of other postal systems around the world, would greatly reduce the harm faced by nearly 90 million people across the country that lack adequate financial services today.
The amendment was moved by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Democrats Bill Pascrell (NJ-9) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) and Republican Mark Amodei (NV-2).
Introducing the amendment on the House floor, Pascrell emphasized the reason for bipartisan agreement for expanded postal financial services: “Ninety percent of zip codes lacking a bank or credit union are in rural areas. Bank branches are also sparse in low income urban areas. Approximately 46 percent of Latino and 49 percent of African American households are underbanked,” Rep. Pascrell said. “Think about that. Democrats and Republicans alike could derive enormous benefit for their constituents. Talk about uniting America!”
The Campaign for Postal Banking has worked closely with a number of congressional allies to build support on Capitol Hill for these services. Postal workers and other coalition allies have been organizing community support and petitioning the Postal Service to pilot expanded financial services. Yesterday’s amendment comes just weeks after northern Ohio residents, joined by their Congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur, called on the Postmaster General to pilot expanded services in their region. And it also comes just a year after the Campaign successfully defeated an appropriations amendment that would have prevented the Postal Service from piloting these projects.
The Campaign will continue to work with congressional allies to build support in Washington for expanded financial services and will also continue organizing in communities to educate and mobilize the public around postal banking.