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U.S. Senate passes Postal Service reform bill

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Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Senate Wednesday passed a bill intended to relieve financial pressures on the U.S. Postal Service while retaining as many services as possible. Among the provisions of the 21st Century Postal Service Act, the USPS would be able to use $11 billion in surplus pension fund contributions to buy out employees from their contracts and reduce its work force by as many as 100,000 employees. However, the USPS would have to submit to a review of which post offices and mail processing centers it would close, and must abide by a two-year moratorium on reducing mail delivery from six to five days. The American Catalog Mailers Association hailed the passage of the bill as a step “that would reduce the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Postal Service,” according to Paul Miller, ACMA VP-deputy director, in a statement. However, the USPS board of governors criticized the bill for blocking the reduction of mail-delivery days and the closure of mail facilities the USPS says it no longer needs, key provisions in its own five-year plan. The Senate bill still needs to be reconciled with a rival bill currently under debate in the House of Representatives.
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