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|Wednesday, November 02, 2011|
A bipartisan group of senators have a proposal to save the U.S. Postal Service. The plan includes cutting Saturday service, buying out 100,000 jobs and closing many branches.
The bill would allow the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service tap a $6.9 billion overpayment to the Federal Employment Retirement System, a move that several House Republicans have opposed, dubbing it a bailout.
The bill would direct $1.7 billion of that overpayment to offer up to $25,000 cash buyouts or up to two years of service credits toward retirement for experienced employees near retirement. If 100,000 workers take the buyout, the move could save $8 billion, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
The rest of that money could be used to pay down debt that the U.S. Postal Service has taken on to pay bills, said Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, who was among those who helped craft the deal.
"Without taking controversial steps like these, the Postal Service just isn't going to make it, and that would be terrible. said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with Democrats. "We must act quickly to prevent a postal service collapse."
Other lawmakers in on the proposal include Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, who runs the panel that oversees the U.S. Postal Service and Sen. Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican.
Congress would need to pass the proposal, which has yet to be reviewed by House Republicans or the White House.
Postal unions had not yet reacted to the proposal, but they've been opposed to past recommendations that included employee layoffs.
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