21st Century Postal Service Act Clears Senate Committee

Bipartisan Rescue Legislation Would Keep USPS Running Into the 21st Century

WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation to rescue the United States Postal Service (USPS) from certain financial failure next year cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Thursday by a vote of 9-1.

The 21st Century Postal Service Act, S.1789, would provide USPS with the flexibility it needs to restructure itself in an effort to save billions of dollars and return to financial viability.

The measure was introduced last week by Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., and Senator Scott Brown, R-Mass.

Lieberman said: “The Postal Service is the second largest private sector employer in the country after WalMart and its 32,000 post offices represent more domestic retail outlets than Wal-Mart, Starbucks and McDonalds combined. But its financial viability has been deteriorating for years, and the rapid changeover to electronic communications combined with the economic downturn have swept it up into a financial death spiral. We cannot stand by and allow the Postal Service to collapse.

“Our goal with this bipartisan legislation is simple: get the Postal Service back in the black and help it remain financially sound into the future. The Postal Service may have been established in the 18th century, but it is not a 21st century relic. It is a great, American asset. But times are changing rapidly, and so too must the Postal Service, if it to survive. I am pleased the Committee came together in a bipartisan way to offer a reasonable solution to a very grave problem.”

Collins said: “The Postal Service is the linchpin of a $1.1 trillion mailing and mail-related industry that employs approximately 8.7 million Americans in fields as diverse as direct mail, printing, catalog companies, and paper manufacturing. It literally won’t survive without legislative and administrative reforms. Absent action, it won’t be able to meet its payroll a year from now.

“Today’s Committee action is great progress and a huge step forward giving the Postal Service the authority it needs to restructure, modernize, survive, and thrive. We are giving the Postal Service the tools to achieve solvency once again.”

Carper said: “I have been saying for some time now that Congress needs to come together on a plan that can save the Postal Service and protect the more than eight million jobs that rely on it. Today’s markup is another important step in our effort to reform the Postal Service and help it thrive in the 21st century. This bill – the only bipartisan proposal from Members in either Chamber – presents a comprehensive solution to the Postal Service’s financial challenges. I thank my colleagues on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for recognizing the urgency of this situation and approving this bipartisan solution to a challenging and complex set of problems. It is my hope that Congress and the Administration can come together on this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it’s too late.”

Brown said: “Today, I’m very pleased that the 21st Century Postal Bill has passed through our committee and is another step closer to passage. This represents a significant achievement where Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle worked together and offered the American people an important bipartisan solution that solves a significant problem.”

The 21st Century Postal Service Act would:


  • Authorize USPS to offer buyouts to employees to help reduce its workforce.  The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is directed to refund the Postal Service for what everyone agrees has been an overpayment to the Federal Employees Retirement System.  Using this money to support buyouts, the Postmaster General estimates he can reduce the Postal Service workforce by as many as 100,000 employees over the next three years in order to reach savings of $8 billion a year.
  • Allow the Postal Service to work with its employee unions and OPM to develop a new health plan to cover postal employees. The Postmaster General estimates that a new healthcare plan could cut costs roughly in half, while maintaining adequate benefits.
  • Recalibrate the pre-funding requirements for its retiree health benefits by amortizing those payments over time.
  • Bar the USPS from five-day-a-week mail delivery for two years and until it develops remedies for customers who may be affected disproportionately by the change in service. USPS also must reduce costs and increase revenues by other means before five-day delivery takes effect.


A number of amendments were added to the legislation.

Mark Up Results

Levin #3 (voice vote)

Pryor #2 (voice vote)

Moran #1 (12-4)

Akaka #5 (11-6).

18 thoughts on “21st Century Postal Service Act Clears Senate Committee

  1. How about the oldies that have been there 35 to 40 years and aren’t pulling their weight anymore just get the he!! out. Really, they are sucking the life out of the postal service and me. I’m tired of pulling the weight of 3 people because some of the oldies can’t and don’t want to do anything. I don’t wanna, I don’t hafta, I’m not gonna. That’s their attitude. Screw payouts, just do the right thing and go.

  2. $25 k AND 2 years added, may find enough takers….
    but the way it is right now, 418,750 CLEAR IS NOT ENOUGH TO GO , FOR ANYONE I’VE SPOKEN TO IN TAMPA BAY.

  3. hahahahah, what a load. Put $25K in my TSP and I will be out the door. Retired on the job is ok but cash talks.

  4. “Legislative “help” from the Congress to solve the Postal problem that THEY CREATED will be slow in coming”

    Thats cool added service is always a plus while we wait for “THEIR VERSIONS”.

  5. Mike Pagliaro: IF you read the BILL, you would see that YOU EITHER GET THE “TIME ADDED” or(emphasis on “OR”) an INCENTIVE TO BE ANNOUNCED BY THE USPS.
    READ the Bill.

    There are other “GOTCHA” parts to this proposed legislation.

    Legislative “help” from the Congress to solve the Postal problem that THEY CREATED will be slow in coming….and the LAW THAT WE GET may not resemble the current Senate bill when both Houses resolve the differences in committee after they have passed THEIR VERSIONS.


  7. For all of you concerned with the closing of post offices you need to step up and support a bill that will allow the USPS to realistically keep them open. This 1789 bill is just that. The bill would allow the post office the leverage to close post offices only if needed. As things are now closing them is not even an option. We went 10 billion into the hole this year alone and the total extent of the help we will receive is 7 billion not even enough to cover what we owe from this year. Let me put it thus way we either give up Saturday and curbside deliveries at a cost of 9 billion a year and take a small punch in our health care or we start closing thousands of post offices and layoff the equivalent of those billions we are in the hole for and in the future start cutting pay and benefits of all postal workers. Enough with the band aids. The results of the overpayment study have been published and surprise surprise it is no where near what the Lying unions claimed. HELP THE USPS SAVE AS MANY JOBS AS POSSIBLE, SUPPORT 1789. This bill must pass Obama must sign off on it and the only way this will happen is if you call or write to your local congressmen today.

  8. This us the perfect bill. This bill would restructure the post office by ending time wasting, unsafe,financially unsound and unwanted deliveries. It would lift a huge, huge burden off of our employers shoulders. We would start with the 7 billion that is being given back and then be helped by the relief in the prefunding extension included, but then be completely saved by the billions in savings that the elimination of Saturday and curbside deliveries would produce. Please, please support this bill. Write to your local legislators and let them know how much you appreciate this helping hand we are being given. The NALC is only concerned with it’s dues purses and the changes they propose would keep our employers head underwater and completely unable to even fathom maintaining our current salaries ANC benefits much less give us a raise down the road. Speak up in support of this bill. Please do some research as to what other industries have been offered in similar circumstances and see for yourselves what a wonderful bill this is. Let’s be loud enough so that even the white house can hear of USPS employees supporting this bill. Please do not fall for the NALC rederick, we are beyond broke, we are critically in debt, Obama has sworn that thee will be no more bail outs for any company. It is re election time and the last thing he will do is to take more federal money and pour it into our company. The mythical overpayment the NALC kept drumming on turned out not to exist. We have been left up the creek without a paddle. I am sure that future bills will only be in the Ross/Issa liking as we only go further into the hole. Please google the words congressman with your zip code and get your representatives address, email and phone number. Take three quick, but income saving steps today to secure your and your employers future. Support 1789 it is not perfect, but is the closest we will e er come to it.

  9. Don’t worry. We are creating jobs right and left. But we may still need more tax cuts for ourselves. We are really struggling right now.

  10. This bill just gives the USPS the leverage they wanted to shut down the processing plants, force thousands to lose their homes by either having to move or become unemployed, and the end result will be the complete demise of the very service organization they seek to save. As soon as this bill was voted on, a manager in our plant said unofficially that it means of the 320 employees currently working there, 160 will be gone soon because most the automation will be moving to another plant over 2 hours away. They already know how many of each craft will be staying or going. Think of what that means to an already struggling community when over $8mil. annually just vanishes from the local economy. How many will be able to commute over mountain passes that are snow covered most of the winter? How many will have no choice but to either quit or move and add to the foreclosure mess? The impact on the other local businesses that may have to layoff or cut back due to the lost revenue those wage earners mean to the repeat business they bring. The death spiral of our economy seems to be getting worse with every new idea that puts more people out of work. May God help us all!

  11. This bill will not reform the postal service which is what is needed. USPS management will be able to do nothing of any consequence with the 7 billion. So a number of workers retire then what? Donohoe is not capable of leading the service out of this mess. The only solution I see is the Issa bill which brings in someone qualified in business to put the postal service back in the black and then turn it back to the postmaster general to run. Should he be unable to keep the service in the black then stop filing the position of postmaster general from within the postal service and go to the private sector and start bringing qualified business people.

  12. Nick as a long term employee of the USPS I agree they really seem to be trying to do right unlike Darryl Issa’s hatchet job. We never were asking for a bail out as Issa repeatedly tries to say, we operate on postage revenue not taxes, and I’m a fairly staunch conservative BTW. Giving us some of the huge overpayments back that we were forced to pay into retirement accounts is a step in the right direction along with not severely curtailing service by plant closings. I ‘m actually or 5 day delivery in lue of giving up overnight delivery standards by drastically changing the infrastructure. The public generally is ok with it and as a customer I’m good with it too.

    Joe even 25k is not a lot and anything less in my case and I’m not leaving a career that I’ve invested 25 years into and I couldn’t survive on our meager retirement. I mean 25k is only a thousand dollars for every year worked and less than 6 months pay.

    Thanks for listening. ;o]

  13. If you give the federal max payoff of $25,000 and the federal max off added years then you would get at least 40,000 to 50,000 people to leave. This would cost the postal service less than half of the $1.7 billion that would be used from the FERS
    surplus that congress will allow. Then there would still be enough money left to offer another similar buyout in the future.

  14. Get around the $25,000 Federal max payoff by giving bonus checks for people to leave…say $15,000.They’d get 50,000 people to leave…with or without added years.

  15. i am in favor of this legislation if it gives years of service in lieu of a pay out. i am concerned about this new health care proposal,

    this bi-aprtisan committee seems genuine in helping the postal service survive into the future. it is sure better than the issa plan.

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