The United States Postal Service last year defaulted on a payment into its pension fund for the first time in its history. It then defaulted on a second payment later in the year, while posting record losses.
The Postal Service is in such dire financial straits because, unlike any other agency or private business, it is required by Congress to pre-fund 75 years worth of pension benefits. So USPS is paying for the pensions of employees it has not even hired yet. And while Congress could easily fix the problem, House Republicans last year couldn’t even bother to bring the matter up for a vote:
The old Congress, bogged down by disagreements between lawmakers from rural and urban districts and distracted by fiscal policy fights, has not been able to agree on legislation to overhaul the struggling agency.
A bipartisan bill that passed the Democratic-led Senate last year would have ended Saturday mail delivery and eased its benefit payment obligations.
But the Republican-led House of Representatives, which had advocated for aggressive post office closures, never voted on a postal bill.
Last year, Congress managed to rename 60 post office branches, while doing nothing to alleviate the USPS’ nonsensical requirements. Meanwhile, the alternative solution — closing post office branches — hits America’s poorest communities the most.