The U.S. Postal Service said the Senate decision on Wednesday to reimburse the ailing agency about $11 billion for overpaying into the federal workers’ retirement fund will help but isn’t enough.
The USPS said the Senate bill fell short because it doesn’t allow the agency to close thousands of post offices and mail processing centers, end Saturday delivery and cut roughly 120,000 employees. The agency expects to lose $83.2 billion by 2016 if it doesn’t receive support for all the reforms needed to become profitable again.
“We appreciate the hard work of the Senate in addressing postal issues, and we believe that there are important and valuable provisions contained in the legislation,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “We would have preferred the Senate allow the Postal Service to move further and faster in addressing its cost reduction goals.”
Under Donahoe’s five-year plan, the USPS would cuts costs $20 billion by 2015. He said the agency loses $25 million daily and has a debt of more than $13 billion.
In addition to rising retirement fund costs, the USPS has been hit by a dramatic decline of business, largely caused by customers shifting from traditional mail to electronic communications. Overall mail volume in the fiscal first quarter fell 6 percent as operating expenses rose 1 percent, pushing the USPS to a $3.3 billion loss.
The House is expected to debate legislation in the coming months that would allow the USPS to end Saturday delivery, streamline postage rates and require workers to pay the same health premium as federal workers, according to the Washington Post. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the lead sponsor of the reform bill, criticized the Senate bill for not allow to close post offices and processing centers, and delaying the collapse of the agency only two years.