Wed April 25, 2012

U.S. Senate Passes Postal Service Reform Bill 62 to 39

The U.S. Senate passed a bill today aimed at saving the U.S. Postal Service. The legislation would make it harder to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and close thousands of low-revenue post offices already targeted by the USPS.

That’s despite assertions from postal officials that those steps are needed to reduce billions in debt and become profitable again.

Democratic Senator Mark Udall attached an amendment to the bill that keeps about 30 rural Colorado post offices from being closed for one year.

 “I understand the need to make the postal service leaner in the 21st Century,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “I don’t think that rural Coloradans should have their access to vital services provided by the postal service limited as a result.”

Other key provisions include:

  • Allowing the USPS to sell new products and services, like hunting and fishing licenses, and to ship beer, wine and liquor to bring in additional sources of revenue. 
  • Keeping overnight delivery standards for regional areas for at least three years
  • Creating a commission tasked with developing innovative ways to make the USPS profitable in the 21st century and beyond
  • Reduced requirements that the Postal Service pre-fund retirees’ health benefits from 100 percent to 80, saving the agency an estimated $2 billion per year.

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