The US Postal Service will run out of money this year unless it gets help, Postmaster General John Potter has told Congress he sought permission to cut delivery to five days a week from the current six.
"We are facing losses of historic proportion. Our situation is critical," Potter told a House of Representatives panel.
The agency lost USD 2.8 billion last year and is looking at much larger losses this year. Reducing mail delivery to five days a week could save USD 3.5 billion annually, Potter said.
Potter also urged changes in how the post office prepays for retiree health care to cut its annual costs by $2 billion.
If the Postal Service should run out of money, the lingering question, Potter told the House Oversight post office subcommittee, is which bills would be paid and which would not. Ensuring the payment of workers' salaries comes first, he said, but other bills may have to wait.
Potter first raised the possibility of delivery cutbacks in January, but the idea has not been received warmly in Congress.
"With the Postal Service facing budget shortfalls, the subcommittee will consider a number of options to restore financial stability and examine ways for the Postal Service to continue to operate without cutting services," the subcommittee's chairman, Democrat Stephen F.