Tom Carper, U.S. Senator for Delaware

Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Thomas Carper, D-Del. and Scott Brown, R-Mass., are sponsors of the Senate postal reform legislation.

The U.S. Postal Service is in financial free fall. In large part because of Internet competition, it has lost $13.6 billion in the past two years, owes the Treasury $12.9 billion, and will soon exceed its credit limit of $15 billion. Without legislation, the universal service that is critical to all Americans and our economy, and that sustains 8 million jobs, will come to an end. Rural America, in particular, will be left behind. Action is needed now.

By a strong bipartisan vote, the Senate passed a bill last week that gives USPS the authority it needs to right-size, modernize and remain competitive. It isn't a perfect bill, but it would put USPS on a path toward financial stability.

Nearly 80% of Postal Service costs are workforce-related; these must be confronted. Under the Senate bill, USPS would use the same kinds of retirement incentives that private industry uses to restructure and voluntarily "right-size" its workforce, to further reduce the postal workforce by 20%, or roughly 100,000 positions, eventually saving $8 billion a year. Analysis by USPS shows the Senate bill would save more than $19 billion a year by 2016.

The bill also establishes an orderly and predictable process for achieving a more optimal network of post offices and mail processing plants, requiring involvement of local communities to ensure that essential services are preserved, while reducing mail processing centers by a third. It's not enough just to cut expenses; USPS must grow revenue through innovation, new products and services in a digital age.

Before adopting this reform legislation, the Senate wisely rejected amendments that would have slashed jobs and services. This would drive away more customers, decrease revenues and accelerate the decline of a $1.1 trillion mailing industry.

We face a looming deadline of May 15 before USPS is scheduled to implement drastic changes that will only make matters worse. We must reverse USPS' daily loss of $25 million and save the Postal Service for the next generation of Americans. The Senate-passed legislation would get that done.

Full story: