October 25, 2014

Saving Saturday mail deliveries

Starting this summer, the US Postal Service plans to end weekend home deliveries because of continued financial problems. A Wisconsin Congressman is joining an effort to stop that from happening, through a bill that would address the budget issues currently plaguing the agency.

U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) says a major reason for the reduction in service is a requirement that the Postal Service prepay pensions 75 years into the future. It’s something the Madison Democrat says no other government agency or private sector business has to do, and the mandate a major factor behind the current financial woes of the USPS. Without that requirement, Pocan says the Postal Service would have been in the black for the last several years and would not be faced with having to reduce services to survive.

The Congressman is signing on to a bill aimed at helping the agency overcome its financial hurdles. The proposal would alter the pension requirement, while preserving what he describes as “essential services” that small businesses and towns rely on being there six days a week. Pocan says the bill would also allow the Postal Service to take additional steps to enhance its revenue stream.

AUDIO: Rep. Mark Pocan (:19)

Members of Congress have made several attempts in recent years to address the pension fund issue, with little success. Pocan believes the looming cuts to the delivery schedule and possible Post Office closings could be enough to prompt action because you “can’t consider one set of problems while ignoring another.”

The bill is at odds with a continuing resolution recently approved by Congress that requires the Postal Service to continue offering six day delivery services. That measure is currently awaiting action from President Obama.