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U.S. Congress panel to hear Postal Service officials on finances

David Shepardson
·2 min read

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Top postal officials arescheduled to testify before a U.S. congressional panel on Feb.24, as lawmakers consider how to repair U.S. Postal Servicefinances.

The hearing "will examine legislative proposals to place thePostal Service on a more sustainable financial footing," saidRepresentative Carolyn Maloney, the Deocrat who chairs thecommittee, and top Republican Representative James Comer.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a supporter of formerPresident Donald Trump who was named postmaster last year by theUSPS board, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight andReform Committee, his spokesman said.

Ron Bloom, a former Obama administration official elected onTuesday as new chairman of the U.S. Postal Board of Governors,confirmed Friday that he will also testify.

DeJoy came under heavy criticism for making service changesthat delayed deliveries, so he suspended them ahead of the 2020presidential election. Still, complaints of slow deliveries havecontinued.

"We must acknowledge that during this peak season, we fellfar short of meeting our service targets. Too many Americanswere left waiting weeks for important deliveries of mail andpackages," DeJoy said Tuesday, apologizing to customers.

American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein,also set to testify, said USPS will "soon introduce a 10-yearplan that has had to this date little or no input from postalworkers or customers."

USPS reported $318 million of income for the quarter endingDec. 31, delivering a record 1.1 billion holiday seasonpackages, while first-class mail revenue decreased by $177million.

USPS has reported net losses totaling $86.7 billion from2007 through 2020. One reason for the red ink is that Congressin 2006 passed legislation requiring USPS to pre-fund more than$120 billion in retiree health care and pension liabilities.Labor unions have called this requirement an unfair burden thatother businesses do not share.

DeJoy warned Tuesday USPS faces massive projected losses asit faces declining mail volumes. He warned that unless "service,reliability, and costs do not improve" USPS's ability to deliverto all 161 million U.S. households "will be threatened, and ourrelevancy diminished."(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio)