Why The Postal Service Doesn't Want To Be Rescued

Apr 26, 2012
Originally published on April 27, 2012 7:02 am

A bill passed by the Senate yesterday would help U.S. Postal Service keep post offices around the country open, NPR reports.

The Postal Service is not pleased.

The key issue: The Postal Service, which loses $25 million every single day, wants to save money by closing hundreds or thousands of post offices and shifting services to places like grocery stores.

But the Senate bill, in addition to shifting money around, would extend a moratorium on closing post offices.

"We are disappointed that the Senate's bill would not enable the Postal Service to return to financial viability," postmaster Patrick R. Donahoe said in a statement.

As NPR's David Welna reports:

Senators were divided over the bill less by party than by the strength of their ties to rural America.

The "postmaster general originally was talking about shutting down 3,700 rural post offices in every state in this country," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont. "And I hope that members understand that a post office in a rural town is more than just a post office. [If that] post office disappears — in many cases, that town disappears."

This is one of those weird moments when a government agency is trying to save money, and Congress is making it harder to do so. It's like when Congress keeps funding weapons programs that the Pentagon doesn't want.

If Congress won't allow for faster changes, the Postal Service could see lose more than $18.2 billion by 2015, a spokesman told us.

Update: This post was updated to clarify the details of the Senate bill.

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