Senate committee will tackle Postal Service financial woes

A Senate panel on Wednesday will consider a bill that would restructure how the financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service pays for its employees' retirement health benefits.

S. 1507 would reduce the amount of money USPS must pay to the Treasury Department's Postal Service Retiree Health Fund, which covers future retirement payments, and provide the agency with a larger borrowing limit to meet its current payments. The legislation also would allow USPS to tap into the retiree health fund to cover retirement benefits for postal workers beginning in 2009 instead of 2017 -- the current date set by law.

Faced with a decline in printed mail during the recession and fiscal shortfalls in its budget, the Postal Service has been trying to cut costs and streamline operations. In its fiscal 2009 second quarterly financial report, USPS officials said they did not expect to meet a scheduled $5.4 billion payment for future retirements on Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires that payment.

Among other belt-tightening options, USPS officials have considered reducing service from six days per week to five.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., introduced the retirement-related legislation, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will mark it up on Wednesday. According to his office, the bill would save the Postal Service $2.4 billion in 2009.

"This bill will put the Postal Service on more sound financial footing as we approach the crucial holiday shopping season," Carper said in a released statement. "But this bill is not a silver bullet that will fix everything wrong with the Postal Service. Its management also needs to find ways to attract new business and further streamline operations. And, Congress and postal employees need to work closely with management to keep the Postal Service running smoothly and reliably."

Carper expects to pass the bill before Congress leaves for recess in August.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved H.R. 22 on July 10, which also would afford the Postal Office some debt relief, though not as much as Carper's bill.

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

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

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

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download

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