- - Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The head of the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says the agency must be allowed to ease the terms of prepayments into a retiree health care fund and eliminate general mail delivery on Saturday.

Patrick R. Donahoe tells “CBS This Morning” the agency isn’t asking Congress for money.

He says, “I think most people don’t realize, we’re 100 percent self-sufficient. We pay our own way.” But the postal chief notes that the agency is losing $15.9 billion this year.

Mr. Donahoe says the post office needs to refinance retirement health fund payments to $1 billion a year instead of $5 billion.

He says the Postal Service would continue package delivery on Saturday and keep post offices open. In this scenario, he says the agency could be $8 billion in the black each year.


Lawmakers see tougher oversight after review’

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee is warning the VA to expect much more aggressive oversight in the coming months as lawmakers review the department’s conference and travel spending.

Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida said Wednesday the “truce is over” at the end of a contentious hearing into two training conferences that took place in 2011 in Orlando, Fla. The department’s inspector general cited about $762,000 in questionable spending at those conferences.

W. Scott Gould, a deputy secretary at the VA, told lawmakers that the department had taken several steps in response to the inspector general’s report, including ethics training for all VA personnel involved in planning and overseeing conferences. He also noted that four employees had been suspended and another had resigned.


Disgraced ex-lawmaker latest to seek Jackson seat

CHICAGO — Just a few blocks from a courthouse where he was convicted of fraud and a few miles from another where he was convicted of having sex with a minor, former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds announced Wednesday he is running for the congressional seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr.

The former congressman is just the latest entry in a race that has unleashed a frenzy of ambition, with politicians from every level seeing a once-in-a-lifetime shot at Washington. The list runs from a former congresswoman to a former NFL star to former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s theatrical defense attorney.

Mr. Reynolds adds an additional layer of intrigue, startling even by the standards of Chicago — a city with a healthy reputation for corruption and that recently sent a politician back to the legislature despite being under federal indictment.

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