Washington Americans will get a three-year reprieve from higher postal rates under legislation that allows the Postal Service to save billions of dollars that would have otherwise gone into pension payments.
The bill, which would require the Postal Service to keep stamp prices at current levels until 2006, passed 424-0 by the House Tuesday and now goes to President Bush for his expected signature.
The Senate passed the bill last week.
The legislation has strong support in the $900 billion mailing industry, which has suffered in recent years from the poor economy, lost volume, the anthrax scare, increased competition from online banking and other electronic communication, and public aversion to rising prices.
The price of a first-class stamp was raised to 37 cents last June, the fifth increase since 1991, when the rate jumped from 25 cents to 29 cents.