USPS’ Financials Growing Worse as Agency Defaults on Pension Payments for First Time
Washington, DC – The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21) today reacted to news that the United States Postal Service is defaulting on mandatory payments into its retirees’ pensions and health care accounts. The Postal Service notified Congress of the defaults in a letter to Capitol Hill last week. With this year’s defaults, the six-year total of postal defaults now exceeds $40 billion.
“The Postal Service’s financial predicament is going from bad to worse,” said Art Sackler, coordinator of C21. “The Postal Service is taking unprecedented steps to stay afloat but they are running out of options. Congress needs to pass postal reform legislation this year, or by next year they will be faced with even more billions in defaults or a collapsing postal system.”
This year marks the first time the agency is defaulting on pension payments to cover its unfunded liabilities in the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System. The agency is also defaulting on payments for retiree health benefits.
In the letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Postmaster General Megan Brennan also warned that mail volumes continue to decline. She noted that the declines over the past year are occurring at a “significantly faster rate” than the previous three years.
C21, a coalition of private sector industries that rely on the mail, is urging Congress to pass the Postal Service Reform Act. The bill received overwhelming support in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last March, and would shift postal retirees to the Medicare system saving taxpayers more than $6 billion dollars, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The bill enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress and unprecedented unanimous backing by Postal Service leadership, the bulk of the private sector mailing industry and all four major postal unions.
“The challenges facing the Postal Service aren’t getting better, they’re getting bigger. The industry strongly urges Congress recognize this and move swiftly to pass the Postal Reform Act,” said Sackler.
The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service consists of business mailing associations and companies – including newspapers, advertisers and catalogers, e-commerce and parcels, greeting cards, financial services, telecommunications, insurance and other statement mailers, high-tech businesses, small businesses of every kind – and their suppliers – paper, printing, technology, envelope manufacturing, mail services and other companies, who understand the essential role played by the U.S. Postal Service and want to see it sustained, reformed and strengthened to meet the demands of the future.