Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) joined with House colleagues in a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe asking him to delay any closing of local post offices beyond the end of the moratorium on May 15. This will enable Congress to complete legislation preventing closings. The Post Office ended its fiscal year with a $5.1 billion loss.
Rep. Engel said that the Senate has already passed a bill, the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012 (S. 1789), which intends to put the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on a path to sustainability. Rep. Engel said, “It would be wrong for of the Postal Service to close any facilities until Congress completes legislation on this critical issue.
“With the end of the moratorium on closures and consolidations of postal facilities and mail processing centers rapidly approaching, thousands of jobs around the country are at risk. The Senate has acted, but the full House has yet to take up any legislation.”
Last fall, the Postal Service announced its plan to eliminate its overnight delivery standard, and replace it with a 2-3 day delivery standard. In addition, the Postal Service has proposed reducing mail service from six to five days, giving away a key competitive advantage of the USPS. Last summer, Members of Congress were informed of the numerous post offices and mail processing facilities under study for closure or consolidation.
In the letter to Donahoe, the House members noted the cost saving measures in the Senate bill that warrant consideration, including access to $11 billion that USPS overpaid into federal retirement accounts. In addition, the bill would reduce the amount of money that USPS has to prefund for retiree health benefits by amortizing the costs over 40 years and re-calculating those costs more appropriately. Finally, the bill would allow the postal service to provide additional services, creating more opportunity for additional revenue.