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Congress Looking to Save Postal Service as Payments Come Due

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Congress passed a continuing resolution Monday that extended a deadline to Nov. 18 for the Postal Service to pay $5.5 billion to the Treasury Department.

The resolution comes as the cash-stricken agency’s debts threaten its operations. It is expected to announce record losses when its fiscal year ends Friday and expects to have only enough cash to support one week of operations by Oct. 31.

On Friday, the Postal Service is slated to pay an annual $5.5 billion sum for future retiree health care benefits, a payment it said it would default on.

The Postal Service also warned it may not be able to meet an upcoming November deadline. Federal law mandates that the agency pays benefits in advance.

Congress is considering several avenues to support the agency.

“The continuing resolution approved by the Senate last night gives Congress and the administration some much needed breathing room to continue to work together to come up with a comprehensive set of reforms that will address the Postal Service’s short and long-term financial challenges and ensure that this critical American institution will be able to serve the American people for years to come,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) in a written statement.

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