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Congress weighs reforms to troubled U.S. Postal Service over finance woes By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A USPS mail service walks previous New York Stock Exchange in New York

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives committee heard testimony on Wednesday from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and different officers who urged lawmakers and President Joe Biden to think about vital reforms to sort out the U.S. Postal Service’s precarious funds.

“Our dire financial trajectory, operational and network misalignment to mail trends, outdated pricing, infrastructure underinvestment, inadequate people engagement, and an insufficient growth strategy – all demand immediate action,” DeJoy informed lawmakers.

DeJoy, a supporter of former President Donald Trump appointed to head the Postal Service final 12 months, suspended operational adjustments in August after heavy criticism over postal delays. He plans to launch a brand new 10-year strategic “break-even” plan quickly.

Delays in paychecks and different mail deliveries by the Postal Service, or USPS, gained consideration this summer season as a report variety of voters mailed in ballots to elect a brand new president.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney made the case for motion because the USPS faces shrinking volumes of first-class mail, elevated prices of worker compensation and profit, and better unfunded liabilities and debt.

New Postal Board chairman Ron Bloom, who famous that the USPS is at present projected to lose $160 billion over the following decade, informed lawmakers “we can’t just throw money at the problem. We must address the systemic issues plaguing its outdated model.”

The USPS reported internet losses of $86.7 billion from 2007 by 2020. One purpose is 2006 laws mandating that it pre-fund greater than $120 billion in retiree well being care and pension liabilities, a requirement labor unions have referred to as an unfair burden not shared by different companies.

Maloney has circulated draft laws on some USPS monetary points, reminiscent of eliminating a requirement to pre-fund retiree well being advantages and require postal staff to enroll in government-retiree well being plan Medicare, for a saving of $40 to $50 billion over 10 years. “The Postal Service is facing a dire financial situation that requires us to act,” she mentioned.

DeJoy mentioned the reform invoice alone “doesn’t solve the problem.”

Bloom mentioned the USPS will ask the Biden administration to calculate pension obligations “using modern actuarial principles” that will save one other $12 billion.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, urged Congress to award the USPS an extra $15 billion and referred to as for a separate “modernization grant” of $25 billion.

In December, Congress transformed a $10 billion U.S. Treasury mortgage to the USPS right into a grant.

Some Democrats need Biden to fireplace the present postal board. There are three vacancies on the board that the White House has promised to quickly fill.

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