The Congressional Research Service has updated its report “The U.S. Postal Service’s Financial Condition:Overview and Issues for Congress” to reflect the most recent financial results and legislative proposals. From the report’s summary:
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS’s) financial condition,legislation enacted to alleviate the USPS’s financial challenges, and possible issues for the 112th Congress. It also includes a side-by-side comparison of two of the postal reform bills, H.R. 2309and S. 1789.
Since 1971, the USPS has been a self-supporting government agency that covers its operatingcosts with revenues generated through the sales of postage and related products and services.
In recent years, the USPS has experienced significant financial challenges. After running modest profits from FY2004 through FY2006, the USPS lost $25.4 billion between FY2007 and FY2011.Were it not for congressional action, the USPS would have lost an additional $9.5 billion.
A number of ideas have been advanced that would attempt to improve the USPS’s financialcondition in the short term so that it might continue as a self-funding government agency. All of these reforms would require Congress to amend current postal law. The ideas include (1)increasing the USPS’s revenues by altering postage rates and increasing its offering of nonpostalrates and services; and (2) reducing the USPS’s expenses by a number of means, such asrecalculating the USPS’s retiree health care and pension obligations and payments, closing postalfacilities, and reducing mail delivery to less than six days per week.
This report will be updated after the USPS releases its quarterly financial results in early February2012, and in the interim should there be any significant developments.