A bipartisan bill in the Senate would end Saturday mail delivery after one year and cease door-to-door delivery for new residential and business addresses. The agency says ending Saturday mail delivery would save $2 billion each year. But many lawmakers, along with postal worker unions, have resisted such changes, saying they would inconvenience customers.
Postal Service supports the proposed delivery changes. It also is seeking to reduce its $5.6 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits. It missed two of those payments in 2012, one deferred from the previous year, and is expected to miss another at the end of this month, when its fiscal year ends.
The Senate bill would change the method by which the retiree health costs are calculated, as well as allow the agency to ship alcoholic beverages and compete with private shippers.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe was to appear before a Senate panel on Thursday to press lawmakers for swift action.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved a bill this year that would allow the Postal Service to gradually shift from door-to-door delivery to cluster box and curbside delivery. No Democrats voted for the measure.
The bill, introduced by the chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also would end Saturday delivery and change how pension and retiree health costs are calculated.
Issa said the proposed rate increases were merely a short-term solution and that the agency's "costly, inefficient delivery" system needs to be fixed. Such increases could hurt businesses that rely on the post office, he said.
The Postal Service is an independent agency that receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.
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