It’s down-to-the-wire time again for the U.S. Postal Service as it seeks congressional help in dodging much of a $5.5 billion payment due next Thursday into its retiree health benefit fund.
“We’re in discussions with committee staff,” USPS spokesman Gerry McKiernan said today. While a continuing budget resolution is a likely vehicle for a partial waiver, he said, “there’s nothing definitive yet.”
Last month, the Postal Service warned of a cash crunch if it had to make the full payment, which is required under the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
Under similar circumstances last year, Congress allowed the Postal Service to pay only $1.4 billion of the required $5.4 billion installment, with the balance being pushed off into the future. In that case, lawmakers took matters down to the last minute and beyond. The payment was due Sept. 30; the waiver actually became law on Oct. 1.