A taxpayer bailout of the U.S. Postal Service would cost about $58 billion through 2017, which Congress could avoid by changing the agency’s business model, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said.
The service, which lost $15.9 billion last year, doesn’t want a bailout, and it would be “unnecessary,” Donahoe said today in prepared remarks for a speech at the National Press Club in Washington.
“It may shock you to learn that the Postal Service could be profitable today and for the long-term future; it just needs to operate differently,” he said. “I’m optimistic that Congress will pass a bill this year.”
Leaders of House and Senate committees overseeing the Postal Service had planned to meet this week to begin work on legislation. The two chambers, each controlled by a different political party, last year didn’t agree on what should be in a postal bill.
Donahoe, at a House oversight hearing April 17, called on Congress to ease a requirement that the Postal Service pay in advance for future retirees’ health-care benefits and to let the agency exit the health plan covering U.S. government workers, in favor of setting up its own.
The service also wants more power to raise prices and sell non-postal products.
The postmaster general on April 10 was told by his board to stand down on plans to end Saturday mail delivery in August, a move he said would save $2 billion a year.