Friday, November 21, 2014 · 8:43 p.m.

Postmaster general urges members of Congress to pass reform

Survey shows support for five-day package delivery

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USPS leaders are waiting for Congress to approve reform so that the organization can return to profitability. (Photo: Contributed)

Last week, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe told members of a Senate committee that the United States Postal Service's problems are more urgent than ever, and a fix requires congressional action before leaders can reform the USPS business model. 

"The Postal Service faces tremendous financial challenges," he said, according to a news release. "Last year, the Postal Service recorded a loss of $15.9 billion dollars. It defaulted on payments to the United States Treasury of $11.1 billion dollars. The Postal Service exhausted its borrowing authority, and it continues to contend with a serious liquidity crisis."

For about two years, USPS leaders have been asking members of Congress for help. The self-supporting government enterprise is losing $25 million every day. 

Leaders need Congress to help close the $20 billion budget gap. 

"At one point last October, the Postal Service had less than four days’ worth of cash-on-hand to fund operations," Donahoe said. "For an organization the size of the Postal Service—which has revenues of $65 billion dollars and a workforce of 495,000 career employees—that is a razor-thin margin. By way of comparison, most private-sector companies usually have two months of cash-on-hand to fund operations."

USPS leaders announced on Feb. 6 that they are eliminating regular mail delivery on Saturdays, but packages will still be delivered that day.

The move, which leaders will implement in August, is expected to save the struggling organization $2 billion a year. 

Mail addressed to post office boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturdays. Post offices currently open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays. 

At the end of January, USPS leaders said they were going forward with cost-cutting measures without Congress' approval. 

USPS leaders have been considering moving to a five-day delivery schedule for a couple of years. But recently, package delivery has increased, and leaders predict it will continue to grow, so they decided to continue package delivery on Saturdays.

Leaders with USPS also recently reported that—according to a survey—80 percent of Americans support the new six-day package, five-day mail delivery schedule, which officials will implement on Aug. 5. 

The survey, commissioned for the Postal Service, was completed by Ipsos, a leading independent market research company.

“These survey results illustrate the strong public support for our new delivery schedule in communities across the country,” Donahoe said. “The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports this new delivery schedule as a prudent, responsible and reasonable approach to address our urgent financial situation.”

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