OPM: USPS projected pension surplus shrank

Postal legislation passed by the Senate this year would allow the agency to use the overpayment to incentivize postal workers into retirement. Emily Spain, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Carper, a sponsor of that measures, said the Delaware Democrat was reviewing OPM’s findings.

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“During this process, it will be necessary to look at whether OPM is using the correct assumptions to calculate this new surplus and if using USPS-specific assumptions would result in a more accurate assessment of what the United States Postal Service is owed from the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS),” Spain said in a statement.

The letter from OPM comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are still hopeful that broad reforms to the Postal Service can be passed before this Congress runs out. 

A House GOP bill, sponsored by the Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), did not receive a floor vote before November’s elections. 

Republican supporters of the bill have cautioned that the FERS overpayment was just a projection, and should only be spent in a comprehensive restructuring of USPS. 

But Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), Issa’s cosponsor on that bill, has also said that the FERS overpayment is one potential area of compromise with the Senate. 

Donahoe said this year that giving USPS access to the overpayment would help ease the service’s cash flow issues and pay down its debt. The Postal Service recently reached its debt limit, and can’t currently borrow any more from the Treasury.