Thursday, January 03, 2013

Postal Service, decrying Congress' lack of action, says it will consider 'accelerated cost cutting' steps

The U.S. Postal Service warned today that it will consider "a range of accelerated cost cutting and revenue generating measures" because Congress has not passed a bill to help the service get back in the black. That could create more pressure to end Saturday home delivery, take other measures that could cause trouble for rural newspapers, and revive plans to close post offices.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe issued a statement, saying in part, "We are on an unsustainable financial path. We are currently losing $25 million per day, we have defaulted on $11.1 billion in Treasury payments and exhausted our borrowing authority. The Postal Service should not have to do business this way, which has undermined the confidence of our customer base and the $800 billion mailing industry we serve."

The Senate passed a postal reform bill that would guarantee six-day delivery for two years, but the House has not acted. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has a bill that would allow the Postal Service to go to five-day delivery. "Retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of the sponsors of the Senate bill, offered to get talks moving by giving up Saturday delivery for letters, a change the Postal Service has sought for years but which has generated opposition in both parties," The Washington Post reported Dec. 18, but the House-Senate talks did not produce an agreement.

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