9:45am

Thu September 8, 2011
All Politics are Local

Congressional Help for Postal Service Long Shot

The U.S. Postal Service is on the brink of defaulting on its employee pension obligations and is asking congressional leaders for assistance, but U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says lawmakers may have too much on their plate to help the ailing agency. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told a Senate committee Tuesday the agency was likely to run out of cash before the end of the month. The Postal Service faces a $10 billion deficit for the fiscal year and must make a $5.5 billion payment to retiree benefits due on Sept. 30.

Donahoe warned the agency could shutdown next year unless Congress approves a long-term financial solution.

Congressman Yarmuth say lawmakers could help the ailing agency by refunding nearly $7 billion in overpayments to the federal employee pension system. But he says the agency faces some tough choices due to changing technology that has made mail delivery almost obsolete.

“The postal service does face some structural and long-term problems and that basically comes from the business that they’ve lost because of the Internet. This would not serve their long-term problems, but it certainly would solve their short-term obligations and again this is not money that would cost the taxpayer anything,” he says.