Chairman Carper Statement on U.S. Postal Service Financial Losses

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper released the following reaction to the announcement that the U.S. Postal Service lost $1.3 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2013: 

“The U.S. Postal Service continues to suffer unsustainable losses that threaten its long-term viability. Since August 2012, the Postal Service has defaulted on two payments to the U.S. Treasury, reached its $15 billion borrowing limit, and ended fiscal year 2012 with a record loss of $15.9 billion. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that today the Postal Service announced it lost $1.3 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2013. While these losses are an improvement compared to its historic $3.3 billion loss in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, it certainly makes it clear that the Postal Service continues to face financial challenges that can only be alleviated by comprehensive postal reform legislation.  It is critical that Congress works together to pass a bipartisan and comprehensive bill as soon as possible – and this news should underscore that sense of urgency. While the Postal Service’s losses are due in part to a continued decline in First Class mail and operating revenue, a significant aspect of loss can also be attributed to its retiree healthcare costs, something my colleagues and I addressed in our postal reform bill that passed the Senate last year.

“Now that the 113th Congress is officially underway, I have made it one of my top priorities during my first weeks as chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to pick up last year’s postal reform negotiations where they left off, beginning with a hearing next week to examine the financial crisis at the Postal Service and the potential solutions. As I’ve said time and time again, the Postal Service needs comprehensive legislation that reforms, right-sizes and modernizes this American institution. Although the Postal Service has made some progress in trimming costs – which is welcome news –far more work remains to make its outdated business model financially viable long term. Piecemeal efforts like those announced in recent days and months will not be enough to solve the Postal Service’s financial challenges for the long haul. I hope my colleagues and the Administration share my sense of urgency to solve this situation and join me in working to find a bipartisan and comprehensive legislative solution to the Postal Service’s serious but solvable financial crisis.”