But the financial problems of the Postal Service are not nearly as dire as the article claims when it says the Postal Service “lost nearly $16 billion last year.” During the first three quarters of this fiscal year, the Postal Service made a profit of some $330 million picking up and delivering the mail to households and businesses throughout America.

The reality is that 100 percent of the financial “loss” of the Postal Service this year is due to the onerous requirement that it prefund 75 years of future retiree health benefits in just 10 years. (As noted, it would otherwise be profitable.) No other public- or private-sector entity in America is burdened with such a requirement.

This $5.5 billion-a-year burden, mandated by Congress in 2006, has been responsible for about 80 percent of the financial difficulties of the Postal Service since 2007.

If we are serious about protecting the Postal Service, an institution enshrined in our Constitution and relied upon by all Americans, it is imperative that we immediately terminate the prefunding requirement.

U.S. Senator from Vermont
Washington, Nov. 12, 2013