Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat who is among those pressing for legislation to reform the U.S. Postal Service’s finances, has launched a website with an eye-catching ticker aimed at pressuring House Republicans to act: It tracks the agency’s losses to the dollar.
The website is called “The Costs of Inaction,” a dig at the House for not bringing its version of a bill to help the Postal Service to the floor. As of Tuesday at 10:25 a.m. the losses were $485,844,000 and mounting. That, according to Carper, is the money the Postal Service has lost since the Senate passed its bill in April.
“The only action that will keep the Postal Service from insolvency and a potential disruption in service is for Congress to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation, but that can’t happen until the House passes a bill,” Carper said in a statement. “The longer the House delays action, the more losses the Postal Service racks up.”
The debt-ridden agency announced $3.2 billion losses last week for the first quarter of 2012. Declining mail volume and a requirement that it pre-fund benefits for retirees have have led postal officials to warn that they are on the verge of financial collapse unless Congress passes legislation that rebalances the agency’s finances and allows it to make changes to its mail delivery schedule and network.
The Senate bill, co-sponsored by Carper, would give the Postal Service almost $11 billion to offer buyouts and early retirement packages to hundreds of thousands of workers and pay off its debts. It woudl allow the end of Saturday mail delivery, but not for two years.
The House bill, whose lead sponsor is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has passed a key committee but has not come to the House floor. It demands more cost-cutting from the agency, including an end to no-layoff protections for postal workers.
Postal officials announced last week that instead of shuttering a planned 3,700 post offices that are losing money, they will slash hours at 13,000 rural outposts across the country. Lawmakers in both parties called the move a stopgap measure to cut costs.