WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 – Warning that the future of the U.S. Postal Service is at stake, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today called on managers of the mail system to back off plans to slow deliveries and eliminate as many as 15,000 jobs.
Despite big increases in revenue, Postal Service managers are forging ahead with a self-destructive plan to close up to 82 mail-sorting centers and gut first-class mail standards.
“If Congress doesn’t stop the postmaster general from making these devastating cuts it will drive more Americans away from the Postal Service and lead to a death spiral of lower-quality service, fewer customers, more cuts, less revenue and eventually the destruction of the Postal Service,” Sanders said in a Senate floor speech.
House Republican leaders refused to consider a plea by 51 senators, a majority, and 160 members of the House of Representatives who signed a letter supporting a moratorium on the cuts.
Sanders strongly disputed claims that the Postal Service is going broke. In fact, from 2003 through 2006 the Postal Service made a combined profit of more than $9 billion. Increasing revenue would have resulted in nearly $1 billion in profits over the past two years except for an unprecedented requirement that the Postal Service sink billions of dollars into an already-flush fund for future retiree health benefits. The requirement was slipped into law at the request of President George W. Bush during a lame-duck session of Congress. “This onerous and unprecedented burden that costs $5.5 billion a year is responsible for all of the financial losses posted by the Postal Service since October 2012,” Sanders said.