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Lawmakers pledge bipartisan cooperation on postal reform

Jan. 4, 2013 - 03:04PM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. (GNS)

Two top lawmakers from opposing parties this week pledged cooperation to put the U.S. Postal Service back on its feet financially.

But because Congress has done nothing up to now, the ailing mail carrier will look at “accelerated” measures to cut costs and raise revenue, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe said.

“This lack of action is disappointing,” Donahoe said in a statement. “As we look to the coming year, we are on an unsustainable financial path.”

He did not specify what measures are under consideration, but they could come up for discussion in closed-door meetings of the USPS Board of Governors scheduled for Jan. 7-8.

In fiscal 2012, the Postal Service lost almost $16 billion. It risks running out of cash this fall. While the agency has several major cost-cutting initiatives underway, it still needs congressional approval for other priorities, such as ending most Saturday delivery and getting relief from a requirement to pay billions of dollars each year into a fund for future retiree health care benefits.

But in the 112th Congress, which went out of business this week, lawmakers were deadlocked on how best to address those concerns. In the new Congress, the two top players on postal issues will be Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chair the main government oversight committees in their respective chambers.

In a joint statement, the two said they remain set on reforming the Postal Service “so it can survive and thrive in the 21st century.”

“While our approaches have differed in the past, we made significant progress in narrowing our differences in recent months,” they said, “and our commitment to restoring this American institution to long-term solvency is unwavering.”

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