The U.S. Postal Service proposed Wednesday a rate hike that would affect first-class, standard, periodicals and package mailing.
The prices would be raised beyond a statutory cap as an emergency measure and would take effect in late January should the Postal Regulatory Commission approve the proposal.
The cost of a stamp would increase from 46 cents to 49 cents, while the rate for letters beyond one ounce and postcards would rise one cent.
Current law dictates that postal prices cannot exceed the rate of inflation except under extraordinary circumstances. USPS officials have said current circumstances merit the hike and are necessary to balance their books in the absence of postal-reform legislation.
“Increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges,” USPS Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett said in a letter to customers on Monday.
Barnett said the USPS will reconsider its pricing if Congress passes legislation that would help the service with its financial struggles. Last year alone, the Postal Service recorded a loss of nearly $16 billion and is projected to face a $6 billion loss this year.