By Bernie Becker - 05/25/12 04:22 PM EDT
Postal officials have urged the House to act quickly to pass a reform bill, with the agency having already lost some $6.5 billion this fiscal year.
USPS has said that, without congressional action, it will default on $11 billion worth of prepayments for retiree healthcare that are currently due before the end of September.
The Senate passed a bipartisan postal reform bill in April. But the House has not moved the proposal from Issa and Ross to the floor, even though it passed the Oversight panel in October.
Issa and Ross are working with Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and other rural Republicans to ensure the bill causes as little trouble as possible for rural postal customers.
For their part, House Democrats interested in postal matters have said they don’t believe Republicans have the votes right now for their preferred option.
If the GOP plan did pass the House, it would also need to be reconciled with the Senate bill.
The House proposal would allow USPS to move more swiftly to end Saturday delivery, and would empower a commission modeled after the military’s Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) task force to come up with a plan for consolidating post offices.
On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate has voted to keep Saturday delivery for at least two years, and to allow USPS to use a retirement fund overpayment to incentivize workers into retirement.
The bill would also relieve some of the pressure from the mandated healthcare prepayments.