The House plan significantly increases chances of Congress acting on postal reform this year—it could advance through the committee stage as soon the upcoming weeks, although any further action could not occur until the fall. A broader Senate bill has been pending for many years, now also with bipartisan support, but has not advanced despite numerous revisions, partly because the House has made no moves on the issue for several years after the committee passed a bill with only Republican support. Among the hangups were several provisions potentially affecting employment levels such as provisions for switching to five-day delivery of mail and additional closings of processing and retail facilities; those are absent from the House plan, as are prior provisions limiting workers compensation benefits and language that Democrats saw as anti-union. Postal reform proposals have been circulating in Congress since shortly after the last major reform 10 years ago, which among other things required USPS to pre-fund future costs of retiree health insurance. USPS made those payments for several years but largely due to the recession and the shift to electronic communications, in recent years it has been unable to make them. There has been no practical consequence of the default but USPS shows them as liabilities on its books.
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