Senate debates Postal problems

The U.S. Senate will debate the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) Monday.

The bill would decide whether the ailing U.S. Postal Service would get an $11 billion cash infusion to prevent office closings and ending Saturday mail delivery.

The money would come from advance payments the USPS made to a federal retirement fund. The agency could use the money to pay down debt and offer employee buyouts.

The agency is on the brink of bankruptcy and has announced several office and processing center closings in 2012. Those closings are scheduled to go into effect in May if lawmakers do not act.

The Senate bill would slow or possibly stop many of the closings. If forces the agency to consider the needs of rural communities and undergo additional review.

The American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey said on the union's web site, "The revised bill is better than the original... but it doesn't do enough to ensure the USPS will be able to continue to provide the service the American people have every right to expect."

The APWU web site also encouraged their members to support additional amendments that would stop the USPS from implementing its "slash and burn" strategy, modify the process for closing or consolidating post offices and postal facilities and replace provisions that would "be financially devastating to thousands of postal and federal employees who were injured on the job and who receive compensation from the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP)."

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday.