Postal Service Losses Surpass $2 Billion as House Continues to Delay Action; Dubious Milestone Underscores Urgent Need for House Action

Sen. Carper Dismayed by House decision to postpone action as losses mount and threaten future of American institution

WASHINGTON – On Sunday morning the U.S. Postal Service’s losses surpassed $2 billion since the U.S. Senate passed its comprehensive, bipartisan bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service on April 25, 2012. Last week, after nearly three months of inaction and the Postal Service losing $25 million or more daily, House of Representatives officials indicated that they were scrapping plans to bring postal reform legislation up for consideration. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), co-author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act and chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, continues to call on House Leadership to take up postal reform legislation as soon as possible and expressed dismay over the House’s refusal to act even as the Postal Service’s financial losses continue to mount.

Threatening to exacerbate its already dire financial situation, the Postal Service is required to make three expensive payments to the federal government this fall and without Congressional action may not be able to meet some or all of those financial obligations. The Postal Service is required to pay $5.5 billion to the Department of Treasury on August 1 – a payment delay from fiscal year 2011 – and $5.6 billion on September 30 for its future retiree healthcare costs. Without legislation, the Postal Service will be unable to make those payments and will be forced to default. On October 15 it will owe $1.5 billion to the Department of Labor for its worker compensation costs.

“The U.S. Postal Service is hemorrhaging money at a historic pace and Congress can’t stand idly by and allow it to continue to creep towards total financial collapse,” said Sen. Carper. “The longer the House delays action, the more losses the Postal Service racks up – losses that continue to threaten a mailing industry that employs over 8 million people and generates almost $1 trillion in economic activity each year. It is completely irresponsible to keep kicking the can down the road and avoiding the hard but necessary decisions to fix the Postal Services’ serious but solvable financial problems. The House’s refusal or inability to act is making a bad situation worse by creating more uncertainty, further undermining confidence in the Postal Service’s future, and harming its ability to build new business. In April, the Senate came together to pass bipartisan postal reform legislation. Since then, the Postal Service has lost over $2 billion and the House continues to sit on its hands, failing to take up our bipartisan Senate bill – or its own bill – to reform the Postal Service. I am absolutely dismayed by the recent reports that the House Leadership is now considering delaying action on postal reform legislation until after its August recess. The only way to protect the Postal Service and the millions of jobs and thousands of businesses that rely on it is for the House to act now, not wait until September or later. I strongly urge them to stop passing the buck and to act swiftly to debate and pass a bill to preserve this American institution for generations to come.”

Although the Postal Reform Act of 2011 was passed out of the relevant House committee in October 2011, leaders in the House have yet to schedule a vote on the bill. The Senate, however, passed the bipartisan 21st Century Postal Service Act, co-authored by Sens. Carper, Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) on April 25, 2012. This legislation gives the Postal Service the flexibility and resources it needs to right-size, modernize, and remain competitive in the 21st Century.

As the House delays action on postal reform legislation, you can follow the Postal Service’s record losses on Sen. Carper’s website here.