Carper urges Obama to save the Postal Service

Friday - 9/9/2011, 5:49pm EDT

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) floor statement

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By Emily Kopp
Reporter
Federal News Radio

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) sent a letter to the White House urging President Obama to act now to save the cash-strapped Postal Service.

The Postal Service has been warning for some time now that it cannot recover from the sluggish economy and the loss of business because of email and other electronic services without help. The agency says that it will default on a $5.5 billion payment to the Treasury this month. After paying October's bills, it expects to have just one week's worth of cash left. In the worst-case scenario, officials say, the Postal Service might stop delivering the mail in August 2012.

"The serious nature of these developments calls out for immediate and dramatic action," Carper wrote to the president. "I welcome the news that your administration will soon be putting forward a proposal to address the Postal Service's significant short- and long-term financial challenges."

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said at a Senate hearing Tuesday that the President would include Postal Service reform measures in the $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction legislation that he plans to send to Congress.

Carper urged Obama to include the following ideas in the White House reform plan:

  • Gradually returning the $50 million-to-$70 million that the Postal Service has overpaid into the federal pension systems.
  • Recalculating the amount that the Postal Service pays for future retiree healthcare obligations.
  • Letting the Postal Service stop delivering the mail on Saturdays
  • Permitting the Postal Service to offer services that are not directly related to delivering mail.

"We need to act so the Postal Service can save itself. We don't need to bail them out. We need to let them act like a real company," Carper said Wednesday on the Senate floor.

Carper sponsored Postal Service reform legislation currently before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the committee's chairman, has promised to mark up a bill in the coming weeks.

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