Postmaster: USPS is a ‘financial disaster’; emergency rate hike may be needed

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“The pre-funding requirement has created hardships for postal workers and it threatens to destroy the Postal Service,” said Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is considering a bipartisan proposal to stabilize the agency’s finances, including changing the method by which retiree health care costs are calculated.

Saturday mail delivery would be ended in a year and the Postal Service could start shipping alcoholic beverages to compete with private shippers such as FedEx under a bipartisan proposal by the committee’s chairman, Tom Carper, D-Del., and the panel’s ranking Republican, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

The agency says ending Saturday mail delivery would save $2 billion each year.

“Whether it happens today, next month or next year, it’s likely that postal customers will need to sacrifice at least some of the conveniences they enjoy today,” Carper said.

Door-to-door service for new residential and business addresses would cease in a move that would help the agency shift to less costly curbside and cluster box delivery, under the bill. The measure would require the agency to try to convert residential addresses on a voluntary basis from door-to-door service to curbside and cluster box delivery.

The Senate plan includes changes in how pensions and retiree health care costs are calculated in an attempt to stabilize the agency’s finances.

It also would impose a two-year moratorium on closing mail processing plants.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee earlier this year approved a bill by its chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., for the service to gradually shift from door delivery to cluster box and curbside delivery. No Democrats on the panel voted for the measure.

Issa’s bill also would end Saturday delivery and would change how pension and retiree health costs are calculated to bolster the agency’s budget.

The Postal Service is an independent agency that receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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