GAO: Postal Service must revamp operations to stay solvent

The Postal Service must revamp its operations to stay on firm financial footing, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday.

Requested by Reps. John McHugh, R-N.Y., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., co-chairmen of the Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight during the 108th Congress, the report makes some of the same recommendations aimed at transparency outlined in legislation approved unanimously by the House Government Reform Committee last month.

The report comes as the bills' stakeholders -- including unions, the mailing industry and the Postal Service's competitors -- are working to convince lawmakers to support the legislation on the floor, despite White House opposition.

The administration's objections to provisions that would give the Postal Service access to money slated for an escrow account and shift its military pensions back to the Treasury Department kept the House bill and a similar Senate measure from clearing either chamber last year.

Panel members and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., are continuing discussions with the administration on those sticking points.

In its report, GAO criticized the Postal Service for not providing enough information about its plans to overhaul the way it delivers and processes mail.

A senior McHugh aide said the recommendations could be implemented even without the legislation, but that the bills would "make it easier for them to adapt, survive, compete and make some of those changes in a way that might be difficult under the current 35-year-old structure."

He added that the legislation also "pushes [the Postal Service] in the same direction" advocated by GAO by requiring increased transparency and accountability.

"GAO has provided a thorough analysis with solid recommendations that will help improve services," McHugh said in a statement. "As Congress works to enact critical postal reform legislation, USPS must at the same time move forward with these recommendations, which will help improve efficiency and ensure that it is capturing cost savings wherever possible."

A spokesman for House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., agreed. "Legislatively, we must pass postal reform, so we can fix the big-picture structural problems that face the U.S. Postal Service," he said. "But if there are interim steps the Postal Service can take to improve its operations, such as those outlined in the GAO report, we would like to see those happen, too."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.