Postal Service crisis moves to the Hill
Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:09:28 GMT —
U.S. Postal Service officials say they will be unable to pay $5.5 billion in retiree healthcare costs this month. The Associated Press reports the agency has reached its borrowing limit and doesn't have enough cash.
Witnesses including postmaster general Patrick Donahoe will appear before Congress on Tuesday to demand for the costs to be re-scaled. Officials say the mandated funding hasn't changed since the days when the Postal Service had 900,000 people on payroll. The agency has trimmed about 250,000 jobs.
"The fact is, no other government agency, and few corporations in the private sector, are required to fund retiree health benefits 75 years out," spokeswoman Yvonne Yoerger told CNN.
This is the second straight year of Postal Service losses of $8 billion or more. With less people sending mail in favor of the Internet and less advertisers willing to invest, the economic downturn has taken an equal toll on the agency.
While the public may feel shocked about the looming future of snail mail, Yoerger told CNN there's "nothing actually new in the Postal Service's position."
"We are required to make this $5.5 billion dollar payment into the future retiree health benefits fund, and probably won't be able to make it when it comes due September 30th."
The Postal Service has proposed ending Saturday mail delivery and is considering cutting as many as 120,000 jobs.
Should Congress save the Postal Service or has the time come to put snail mail to rest? Weigh in below and on our Facebook page.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)