Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Postal Austerity Plan Is Pushed

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Postal Austerity Plan Is Pushed

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service is warning it will lose as much as $18.2 billion a year by 2015 unless Congress grants it new leeway to eliminate Saturday delivery, slow first-class mail by one day and raise the price of a postage stamp by as much as 5 cents.

In a letter to Congress, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe described an updated five-year cost-cutting plan put together in coordination with Wall Street adviser Evercore Partners Inc. It reiterates many of the mail agency's proposals to switch to a five- day delivery schedule, raise stamp prices and close up to 252 mail- processing centers and 3,700 local post offices.

The Postal Service has already asked Congress for permission to make service cuts and reduce annual payments of about $5.5 billion to prefund retiree health benefits. But in recent weeks, the Senate and House have stalled.

On Thursday, Mr. Donahoe said the mail agency's proposals would enable it to save $20 billion a year by 2015, repay its $12.9 billion debt to the Treasury and return to profitability.

Gay marriage bill cleared

TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, but Gov. Chris Christie's promised veto of the measure sets the stage for a battle that should cement his role as a powerhouse in the Republican Party, even if voters support the right of gays to wed in a ballot measure.

The vote in the Democratic-controlled Assembly on Thursday in favor of the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act was 42- 33, and followed nearly three hours of debate as speakers on both sides insisted they were acting on behalf of the majority of New Jersey voters.

The language still must pass the Senate.

Arsenic in infant formula

LOS ANGELES -- Worrisome levels of arsenic have been found in two infant formulas that contain organic brown rice syrup as a main ingredient, researchers reported Thursday. …

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