It appears, but not totally assured, that Congress is going to save the U.S. Postal Service from implementing severe reductions in facilities, jobs and service. The Senate has passed a bill to delay most of the cuts the USPS wants to make, but the House has yet to act.
The Senate has approved legislation to give the USPS an $11 million cash infusion while delaying decisions on closing post offices and ending Saturday delivery.
This being an election year, members of Congress are tuned in to constituents’ concerns, and there has been strong opposition to the USPS proposal to make major changes in how it operates, with cuts designed to keep the agency afloat. The USPS has been losing money and has a debt of $12 billion. The agency has forecast a $14.1 billion loss by the end of this year.
The USPS has plans to make cuts by closing up to 252 mail-processing centers and 3,700 post offices aimed at saving $6.5 billion a year. The postmaster general plans to start making cuts after May 15 unless Congress acts. The Senate legislation would lower the number of facilities to be closed, protect rural post offices for a year and keep Saturday deliveries for at least two years. The infusion of funds would finance buyouts to 100,000 postal employees.
The postal service is not out of the woods even if the provisions in the Senate bill are enacted. The House bill differs from the Senate version. This congressional dance is far from over. But there may be a bill on the president’s desk by May 15.
The USPS is an independent agency of government and does not receive taxpayer funds. It is subject to congressional control.