Post Office Days Away From 1st Default

USPS warns it will default on retiree payment
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2012 6:54 AM CDT
Post Office Days Away From 1st Default
The sign of the US Post Office is seen at a small Post Office August 5, 2009 in Bristow, Virginia.   (Getty Images)

If Congress doesn't do something, the US Postal Service will default for the first time ever on Aug. 1. That's the day a $5.5 billion payment is supposed to be made into a benefits fund for future retirees; another legally-required payment of the same amount is due Sept. 30, and the USPS is poised to default on that one, too. And with the August recess looming, it's unlikely Congress will do anything in time, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Even if it defaults, the USPS says it will still be able to pay its employees and deliver your mail, but a spokesperson noted that "these ongoing liquidity issues unnecessarily undermine confidence in the viability of the Postal Service among our customers." In fact, the Postal Service lists the 2006 mandate requiring these future-retiree payments as one of the reasons it is struggling. More signs of that struggle: The USPS saw a second-quarter loss of $3.2 billion this year; third-quarter results will be announced Aug. 9. (More US Postal Service stories.)

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