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Free Mail for Troops Overseas

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Members of the armed forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. There has never been a comparable provision of free postage for letters or packages sent from family members in the United States to loved ones in wartime service overseas. Two bills (H.R. 923 and H.R. 2874) have been introduced that would allow family members and, in the case of H.R. 2874, certain charities to send letters and packages to servicemen and women in combat zones free of postage.

In a markup on September 29, 2005, the House Committee on Government Reform reported H.R. 923 in amended form as a bill that would allow service members overseas to send vouchers to family or loved ones that would be redeemable for the postage expenses of one letter or 15-pound package per month. The text of H.R. 923 later passed the House as sections 575, 576, and 577 of H.R. 5122, the FY2007 Defense Authorization Act. The version of H.R. 5122 that passed the Senate on June 22, 2006, does not contain the provision relating to mail for service members overseas.

This report will be updated in the event of any further legislative action.


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