Senate debates future of Postal Service

Monday - 3/26/2012, 10:13am EDT

The Senate will take a procedural vote today to start debating on bipartisan legislation this week.

The bill — S.1789 — would:

  • Allow USPS to offer buyouts to reduce staff by as much as 100,000 employees.
  • Allow USPS to negotiate a new health insurance plan with its unions.
  • Spread out the Postal Service's $5.5 billion annual payments to prefund retiree health benefits, and
  • End Saturday mail delivery.

"Our goal with this bipartisan legislation is simple: get the Postal Service back in the black and help it remain financially sound into the future," said co-sponsor Sen. Joe. Lieberman (I-Conn.) in a statement last fall after he introduced the bill.

The Postal Service lost $5.5 billion in fiscal 2011 and expects to lose $17 billion by 2015.

A House subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday on how a Postal Service-run health plan could help its financial crisis. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will offer testimony.

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