Bipartisan Senate Plan Provides for Solvent USPS

WASHINGTON, DC—A bipartisan plan announced by the Senate this week would throw a lifeline to the floundering U.S. Postal Service (USPS) while maintaining six-day mail delivery for at least the next two years, the Associated Press reported.

The Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee will take up the proposal next week. The proposal, among other things, encourages cuts in staffing and refunding the nearly $7 billion in overpayments USPS paid into the Federal Employee Retirement System.

The bill would require USPS to use part of the refund to set up a buyout program, which aims to reduce staff by 100,000. The contentious $5.5 billion payment to fund future retiree health benefits would be reduced with a spread-out payment schedule.

Other provisions of the bill allow the Postmaster General to negotiate with the unions on an alternative health care system that would cost less. As for six-day delivery, that option would be revisited in two years; the USPS would petition the Postal Regulatory Commission, which would verify that the cuts and savings from these initiatives were not enough to ensure fiscal viability.