You may have noticed that first class stamps increased in price to 45 cents each in January. However, that is not all the news from the post office. With mail volume falling and costs to operate rising, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is in financial trouble.
Last year, USPS reported a $5.1 billion loss in FY2011, a number that could have risen to $10 billion without emergency Congressional assistance. In November, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) warned, “This is yet more confirmation of what we already know: the Postal Service is in such deep financial trouble that mail delivery would be disrupted sometime next year unless bold action is taken.”
Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) are advancing the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S.1789) in attempt to steer USPS back to financial viability. However, disagreement abounds among those who think the legislation does too much or too little. Issues of contention include the value of 6 versus 5-day delivery, post office closings, and how USPS employee benefits are structured. The Senate could take up this debate in the next few weeks.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations