Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service warned Congress it could lose $10 billion in the fiscal year that ends this month. That puts the Postal Service in danger of defaulting as it reaches its borrowing limit. The Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is asking Congress to let it break union contracts to fire employees, change retirees’ health benefits, and end mail delivery on Saturdays.
He testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Alaska Senator Mark Begich questioned the plan to cut Saturday service.
Begich says he’s especially concerned about very small businesses, those with 15 employees and fewer. Post Master General Donahoe says of all the possible places to cut, Saturday service makes the most sense.
Senator Begich’s office said after Tuesday’s hearing that he remains concerned about the impacts of cuts on rural Alaska.
Thousands of post offices throughout the country are being studied for closure, but Alaskans got the news last month that 25 of its 36 post offices being considered for shuttering are safe for now. Senator Begich said that news came in a meeting with Postal Service officials and rural community groups concerned about the harm closures in remote communities could bring. 11 Alaskan post offices are still being eyed for closure. Exactly which ones are being spared remains to be seen – release of the list was delayed because postal officials said they had
to focus on problems in the wake of Hurricane Irene on the East Coast, but that was more than a week ago and the Alaska Congressional delegation hopes to receive the list soon.
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