What's Next on Postal Reform

The Postal Service gave Congress until May 15 to approve a major reform bill that would allow the USPS to find billions in savings, but that deadline arrives Tuesday without any final action by Congress as more red ink keeps flowing when it comes to mail delivery.

Late last week, the Postal Service announced it lost $3.2 billion - just in the second of the fiscal year - bringing the losses in the past six months to $6.5 billion, much more than the $2.6 billion in the same six month period a year ago.

While the Senate has approved a postal reform bill, there is no rush in the House, as no postal reform legislation is on the schedule again this week.

And since the House will be taking another 10 day break at the end of this week, no postal legislation could even reach the floor until June.

Without action by May 15, the Postal Service had threatened to close down thousands of facilities, but officials backed off some of that last week by choosing a new plan to limit the hours of operation of thousands of rural post offices.

That would save an estimated $500 million per year - not even close to the billions in red ink being run up this year already.

Postal Service officials promised another announcement this week - it wasn't immediately clear whether there would be announcements of shut downs in mail distribution and sorting facilities nationwide.

Something has to change, since total mail volume decreased in the January-March quarter by 4.1% over the same period last year.

So, as the May 15 deadline arrives for action in the Congress, nothing is final in the halls of Congress.

That means the Postal Service can either push ahead with its own plans to save money (by shutting down facilities) or wait for action by the Congress.

We'll see what this week brings.

Something has to give sooner or later.

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