The U.S. Postal Service would eliminate Saturday delivery and postpone billions of dollars in payments to its retiree health-plan fund, should Congress approve an Obama administration plan to help the nation's mail carrier avoid bankruptcy.
The proposal, part of President Barack Obama's $3 trillion deficit reduction plan, would also allow the service to raise the price of a first class stamp to 46 cents from the current 44 cents without having to obtain regulatory approval.
"The plan would provide short-term relief for the postal service and take off the handcuffs to do some more of the structural reforms that are needed to get it on a more sustainable course," a senior administration official told media gathered for a briefing Monday, CNNMoney reports.
Eliminating Saturday delivery would save at least $2.5 billion a year once fully implemented, while the rate increase would bring the agency an additional $1 billion in annual revenue, Bloomberg reports.
In laying out the plan, the administration stood strongly against a proposal by the service to void union contracts and permit the layoff of some 120,000 postal workers.
The White House proposal would allow the agency to use $7 billion from it over-funded pension fund to instead offer employees buyouts and other incentives.
In July, the Postal Service announced plans to close 3,700 underutilized post offices and cut 5,000 jobs.
"We desperately need cash," Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman told Bloomberg in an interview. "What the administration proposal does is give us a short-term infusion of cash."
Republicans lawmakers have criticized the president's plan, saying it does little more than bail out the Postal Service rather than mandate significant reforms.
Speaking to NPR News on Tuesday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said that the Postal Service is struggling as Americans increasingly turn online to pay bills and communicate, resulting in a dramatic drop in the volume of first-class mail and agency revenues.
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