Postal Service Hits Borrowing Limit

Congress went into recess without moving on postal reform, and now the cash situation at the U.S. Postal Service is looking mighty grim: the agency hit its congressionally determined $15 billion borrowing limit on Sept. 28, USPS spokesman David Partenheimer confirms to the Alley.

The USPS can only borrow from the Treasury Department $15 billion at a time. The agency defaulted on a $5.5 billion payment for future retiree benefits in August, and on another in September.

Service will continue and employees will still get paid. “However, our liquidity situation remains a serious issue and that is why we need passage of comprehensive legislation as part of our five-year business plan to return to long term financial stability,” Partenheimer writes in an email.

The lame duck will be chock full of sequestration and fiscal cliff work. But the private mailing industry, which relies on USPS, has been trying to keep a message of urgency going through the recess, with the hope Congress will act when it reconvenes.

“With its borrowing limit reached, the Postal Service is now walking a tight rope with no net,” said Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service coordinator Art Sackler said in a statement. “There are 8 million private sector jobs that depend on the mail, and there would be catastrophic economic consequences if the Postal Service shuts down. The longer Congress waits to enact postal reform, the more difficult and more expensive the solutions become.”

Read more at National Journal