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Postal Service Chief Says Congress Must Go Big to Save Agency

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe

Neither the House nor Senate bills to rescue the financially-strapped Postal Service go far enough to fix the agency, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said Monday.

During remarks at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, Donahoe said the agency needs to cut $20 billion from its budget by 2015 to get back into the green. The Postal Service recently announced that it had a net loss of $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011.

A House bill sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) would allow the Postal Service to close post offices and end Saturday mail delivery. It also adds a financial control board, which Donahoe said adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, according to a Washington Post account of the luncheon.

A Senate bill backed by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) would repay $7 billion the agency says it overpaid into an employee retirement account. It also requires feasibility studies of ending Saturday delivery for two years.

“If passed today, either bill would provide at best one year of profitability and at least a decade of steep losses,” Donahoe said according to a Bloomberg account. “By taking the best of both the House and Senate approaches, Congress can provide the Postal Service with the legal framework and the business model it needs.”

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