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Senate Passes CR, Postal Service Breathes Easy

By Ed O'Keefe

Federal employees and the Postal Service can breathe easy -- the government will not shut down at midnight, reports The Post's Ben Pershing.

"Just hours before the official end of the fiscal year, the Senate voted Wednesday evening almost completely along party lines, 62-38, to approve a continuing resolution that would keep the government running through the end of October. The House passed the same measure last week, so the bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.

"The resolution, which will keep nearly all government programs funded at current levels, was attached to the conference report for the legislative branch appropriations bill, the first of the 12 spending measures for fiscal 2010 that will become law. ... The combined bill also includes help for the U.S. Postal Service, reducing by $4 billion a payment the USPS is scheduled to make for retiree health benefits."

Senate approval means the Postal Service will only have to pay $1.4 billion to pre-fund retiree health benefits. In response, Postmaster General John E. Potter issued this statement first to The Eye:

The Congress is to be commended for the important step taken today to make a critical short term change to the annual obligation the Postal Service has to the Retiree Health Benefits fund. This $4 billion reduction in the payment required in FY 2009 allows the Postal Service to maintain fiscal stability while we meet the commitments we have to our employees and customers. There’s more work to be done as we face the long term fiscal issues ahead but enactment of this legislation will move this process forward as we continue our efforts with the Congress and the Administration.

Read Pershing's full report on the continuing resolution here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 30, 2009; 6:24 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Congress  
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