eliminating Saturday service for at least two years and then only if the Government Accountability Office and Postal regulators certify that it is necessary to ensure solvency.
The Postal Service has lost more than $13 billion during the past two years, and by the end of this year, its statutory credit limit of $15 billion will be maxed out. Driving this crisis are many factors, including first-class mail volume has fallen by 26 percent since 2006 and continues to decline. Reflecting that sharp drop in volume, revenue has also plummeted from $72.8 billion in 2006 to $65.7 billion in 2011. The Postal Service is at risk of not being able to make payroll as early as this fall, according to the Postmaster General himself.
To remedy this crisis and put the USPS on solid financial footing, the Senate-passed legislation would give the Postal Service the tools to compassionately eliminate more than 100,000 positions -- or about 18 percent of the workforce -- over the next three years, saving an estimated $8 billion annually, through employee buy-outs and early retirement incentives. The incentives would be funded by the refund of overpayments made by the Postal Service into the Federal Employee Retirement System. These are not tax dollars; the payments were made from the Postal Service's revenues and postal employee contributions.
In addition, Senator Collins authored a key provision that would result in the continued operation of the Eastern Maine Processing Center in Hampden, Maine, by mandating certain overnight delivery standards in some areas. In Maine, reliable overnight delivery service would be impossible without both the Eastern Maine facility in Hampden and the Southern Maine plant in Scarborough. The Hampden plant could not be closed as long as these standards become law.
The Postmaster General originally proposed elimination of 223 of the 461 postal processing facilities around the country. The Senate-passed bill would spare 86 of those that were slated for closure because they would be needed to meet the overnight delivery standard, thus leaving 324 plants around the country, including the two in Maine.
The Postal Service is the linchpin of a $1.1 trillion mailing and mail-related industry that employs nearly 8.7 million Americans in fields as diverse as direct mail, printing, catalog companies, magazine and newspaper publishing, and paper manufacturing.
Nearly 38,000 Mainers work in jobs related to the mailing industry, including thousands at our pulp and paper mills like the one in Bucksport, Maine, which provides paper for Time magazine.
The House of Representatives must now pass postal reform legislation and then President must sign it.
FACTS ABOUT SENATE-PASSED POSTAL REFORM BILL
Fact: The Postal Service receives no federal appropriations for operations and only receives funds to provide ballots to the military and the blind. All Postal Service costs paid for by ratepayers (customers), not taxpayers. All Postal Service revenues are revenues from ratepayers, not taxpayers. The only way that taxpayers could be on the hook is if NO reform bill passes and the Postal Service becomes insolvent,