Wednesday November 02, 2011 | 07:57 AM

Touting it as a "compromise agreement to pull the USPS (U.S. Postal Service) from the brink of financial failure," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and three other senators are holding a news conference today to unveil legislation expected to merge several different proposals aimed at helping the Postal Service staunch losses running into the billions of dollars.

Collins is the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and she has had a plan that includes revamping how the Postal Service handles its labor and pension costs. Also involved with the initiative is Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the committee's federal financial management subcommittee chair, who has had his own Postal Service bill, the subcommittee's top Republican, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and committee chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. reports that among the labor provisions to be included in the bill is to allow the Postal Service to ease up on billions of dollars in payments annually to its retiree health care fund, as well as a Collins-backed proposal to block Saturday deliveries for at least two years. And the bill would allow the Postal Service to use surplus pension funds to encourage workers to retire, reports.

But even if the Senate passes this compromise bill, the House has a different proposal in the pipeline, and a final agreement that could be signed into law appears a ways off.


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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