Reps. Woodall and Duckworth Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End Congressional “Free Mail”
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (R-GA-07) and U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-08) introduced H.R. 1873, the "Ending Special Mail Privileges for Congress Act." This bipartisan legislation repeals a federal law, known as the franking privilege, that allows Members of Congress to use their signature in the corner of an envelope as postage. Originally adopted by the Continental Congress in 1775, the process still exists today, and enables Congressional offices to send millions of dollars' worth of mail through the USPS each year without the typical pre-payment requirement.
"The franking privilege is an outdated practice that should have stopped long ago,” said Rep. Woodall. “To finally eliminate it once and for all would be a small but historic step towards rebuilding trust between the American people and their representatives in Washington. I’m thrilled to see this commonsense bill already receiving such broad, bipartisan support from across the country, and look forward to building on its success.”
“As Members of Congress, we lead by example,” said Duckworth. “This legislation will take an important step in making Members of Congress accountable to the taxpayers. I am pleased that Members on both sides of the aisle are working together to hold Congress to the same standards as our constituents.”
First introduced last year during the 113th Congress, H.R. 1873 has attracted and sustained the bipartisan support of multiple government watchdog groups spanning the political spectrum. The organizations include Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Common Cause, National Taxpayers Union, Public Citizen, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, U.S. PIRG, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National Legal and Policy Center. The coalition also issued a statement on the bill.
“The bipartisan legislation – ‘Ending Special Mail Privileges for Congress Act’ – deserves Congressional support. The legislation would make it clear to both constituents and Congress alike that franked mail costs taxpayers, and thus encourage greater self-restraint and more accurate accounting by Members of Congress. We applaud the efforts of Reps. Woodall and Duckworth to rein in some of the costly abuses of the franking privilege.”
The bill number, 1873, carries an historical context that highlights the need to repeal the archaic franking privilege. The law was repealed once before, on January 31, 1873, but only a few years later, Congress restored the “free mail” program. H.R. 1873 seeks to eliminate it once and for all.
Rep. Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. He serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, while also serving on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as well as Budget Committee.