American Society of Magazine Editors

Postal Service Reports Losses; Prospects of Postal Reform Legislation Land in Lame Duck

The Postal Service recently reported a loss of $5.2 billion in the 3rd quarter, bringing the year-to-date loss to $11.6 billion. In an effort to conserve cash, USPS recently defaulted on a scheduled $5.5 billion retiree health benefit liability payment. The Postal Service has also stated it intends to default on the $5.6 billion retiree health fund payment due on September 30. As the Postal Service approaches maxing out their borrowing power from the U.S. Treasury, the need for Congressional action to restructure the Postal Service becomes more pressing.

In April, the Senate passed 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012 (S. 1789), a bi-partisan piece of legislation co-sponsored by Senators Lieberman (I-CT), Collins (R-ME), Carper (D-DE), and Brown (R-MA).  MPA applauded the passage of this much needed legislation and then turned its efforts to the House of Representatives where the  Postal Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 2309) had previously passed out of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Throughout the spring and summer, MPA and the business mailing community urged House Leadership to bring the bill to the floor to no avail.

With the election fewer than three months away, the likelihood of Congressional action on postal reform before the lame duck session is increasingly unlikely.  There are a limited number of days remaining for legislative work to be done this year.  Also, the Postal Service has continued to indicate that it can stay afloat well into 2013 without legislative assistance, thereby removing any sense of urgency on Capitol Hill.  Nonetheless, MPA will continue to push hard for action before the end of the year to resolve this critically important issue.