Carper: GAO Report Confirms Major Changes Needed To Save Postal Service

WASHINGTON (April 12, 2010) – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee with oversight authority over the U.S. Postal Service, issued the following statement in response to the Government Accountability Office’s report on the Postal Service’s proposals to reduce costs and streamline operations while protecting universal service: 
"I applaud GAO for expediting the release of this critical report on the future viability of the U.S. Postal Service.
"The report confirms what many of us who closely follow postal issues have learned in recent months – that major changes are needed if we expect the Postal Service to continue providing the products and services that so many Americans depend on.
"At one point in the report, GAO suggests that the current recession may have been a ‘tipping point’ of sorts that encouraged many of the Postal Service’s most valuable customers to more aggressively seek out alternatives to hard-copy mail. If that is true – and the volume projections that the Postal Service released at the beginning of March tell me that it just might be – it is imperative that Congress, postal management, postal employees, customers and other stakeholders give up on old fights and biases and work together to cut the Postal Service’s costs and adjust its operations to meet a changing environment. Everyone knows the steps that need to be taken. The options have been laid out again by GAO. We just need to take them.
"Last month, the Postal Service stated that it would suffer cumulative losses of more than $230 billion by 2020. But the truth is that the Postal Service’s finances are in such poor shape that there is a risk that it could run out of cash and borrowing room by mid-2011 – even if Congress provides last-minute financial relief this year like it did at the end of FY09.   This could result in a shutdown in mail services, something that I find completely unacceptable.
"It is my hope, then, that the Postal Service come forward soon with a detailed plan of the steps it plans to take in response to the GAO findings and the information it released last month. Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission must move swiftly to deal with their part of this – starting with the Commission’s consideration of the proposal the Postal Service has already made to save more than $3 billion per year by eliminating Saturday delivery."