WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Congress could come up with a compromise to put the U.S. Postal Service on solid footing by the end of March, a lawmaker said Wednesday.
The Postal Service, facing the prospect billions of dollars in red ink now and in the years to come, proposes ending Saturday letter delivery in August to save $2 billion a year. The move has upset people who say they count on Saturday letter delivery, as well postal worker unions.
Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told the Senate Homeland Security Committee postal reform came close to being passed in the last session and has bipartisan support, The Hill reported.
"We spent some time in the red zone," Cummings said. "But America expects us to get into the end zone."
The Washington publication said Cummings expressed a belief that lawmakers "are very close" to an agreement and a bill could make through both houses by the end of March.
Issa told reporters after the hearing he thought Cummings' timetable was probably too short but "I think we certainly could have it out of our committees as soon as the end of March."
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe repeated his position Wednesday that he believes USPS has the authority to reduce service.
"Changes of this magnitude require courage," Donahoe said. "It is clear that the Postal Service cannot continue along our current path. Our existing business model is unsustainable, and projections show continued and increased losses into the future -- unless a comprehensive set of changes is made."
American Postal Worker Union President Cliff Guffey called the funding problem a "congressionally mandated financial crisis," caused by a 2006 law requiring the USPS to pre-fund 75 years worth of future retiree health benefits by 2016.