US Postal Service – finance legislation to secure future

The US Postal Service is to receive $46 billion in financial relief over 10 years if a bill introduced into Congress by 20 senators passes.

At the same time as the financial relief bill, the House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee voted to approve companion legislation last week. This would eliminate guaranteed health benefits for retired postal workers and require them to enrol in the government Medicare retiree health plan. Instead of the health insurance the postal operator will pay a small annual top up payment to address the costs of retirement.

One major reason for the US Postal Service’s net losses of $86.7 billion over the last 14 years has been 2006 legislation that it pre-fund more than $120bn in healthcare and pension liabilities for retired staff.

“This common-sense, bipartisan legislation would help put the Postal Service on a sustainable financial footing,” said Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat who chairs the panel that oversees the US Postal Service.

A US Postal Service spokesman said on Wednesday the agency was “encouraged to see the introduction of bipartisan, bicameral postal reform language.” If passed, the financial reforms “will be a major step forward for financial sustainability of the Postal Service,” the spokesman added.

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