CRS: The USPS’s Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress
Below is a summary from The Congressional Research Service’s report on “The U.S. Postal Service’s Financial Condition:Overview and Issues for Congress”
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS’s) financial condition,legislation enacted to alleviate the USPS’s financial challenges, and possible issues for the 112th Congress. It also includes a side-by-side comparison of two of the postal reform bills, H.R. 2309 and S. 1789.
Since 1971, the USPS has been a self-supporting government agency that covers its operating costs with revenues generated through the sales of postage and related products and services.
In recent years, the USPS has experienced significant financial challenges. After running modest profits from FY2004 through FY2006, the USPS lost $25.4 billion between FY2007 and FY2011.Were it not for congressional action, the USPS would have lost an additional $9.5 billion.
A number of ideas have been advanced that would attempt to improve the USPS’s financial condition in the short term so that it might continue as a self-funding government agency. All of these reforms would require Congress to amend current postal law. The ideas include (1)increasing the USPS’s revenues by altering postage rates and increasing its offering of nonpostal rates and services; and (2) reducing the USPS’s expenses by a number of means, such as recalculating the USPS’s retiree health care and pension obligations and payments, closing postal facilities, and reducing mail delivery to less than six days per week.
This report will be updated after the USPS releases its quarterly financial results in early February 2012, and in the interim should there be any significant developments.