The Senate could vote today on a measure to temporarily prop up the ailing U.S. Postal Service, though Republicans may try to block the measure.
The mail agency, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, says it needs to begin a billion-dollar cost-cutting effort to become profitable again by 2015. But local communities are fretting about the economic impact and tens of thousands of layoffs.
Late last year, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe agreed to delay closings until May 15 to give Congress time to act.
The bill would give the Postal Service roughly $11 billion, basically a refund of overpayments to a federal retirement fund. Republicans say that would violate budget control agreements.
The mail agency has been rocked by steadily declining mail volume, is $12 billion in debt and says it could run out of money for day-to-day operations as soon as this fall.
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