BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 12 – With revenue rebounding, the U.S. Postal Service would have posted a profit for the past three months without an unprecedented requirement that it sink $5.5 billion a year into future retiree health care, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today.
The latest quarterly report on Postal Service finances showed a $740 million loss, but all of that red ink would have been eliminated and a $660 million profit would have been posted had the Postal Service not been forced to sink money into a system that already has set aside enough to meet the health care needs of retirees for decades to come.
“The good news is that the Postal Service made a profit except for the unfair, onerous burden that no other company or agency is required to pay,” said Sanders. “The Postal Service has experienced financial problems and changes need to be made to bring it into the 21st century, but I am convinced that proposals to slow down mail delivery and provide less service are the wrong way to go,” Sanders added.
Sanders was referring to legislation that would hamstring the Postal Service by clearing the way to end Saturday mail service, significantly slow down delivery, close more processing plants and eliminate door-to-door deliveries.
Sanders on Feb. 13 introduced legislation, which now has 28 cosponsors, to modernize the Postal Service, save Saturday mail and repeal the crippling law responsible for at least 80 percent of the mail system’s funding woes. Similar legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) now has 166 cosponsors.
The legislation by Sanders and DeFazio also would let the Postal Service look for innovative ways to attract more customers by taking advantage of email and Internet services, for example. A commission made up of successful business innovators, small business and labor leaders would make additional recommendations on ways the Postal Service could generate new revenue. The bill also would reinstate overnight delivery standards to speed mail delivery and prevent shutdowns of mail sorting centers. Safeguards also would be put in place to protect rural post offices.