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USPS Funding Request at Odds With Administration

Postmaster General John E. Potter went before Congress yesterday to argue that the postal service needs more funding from the government than what has been proposed by the Bush administration.

The USPS wants $101.2 million more than would be appropriated under the administration's proposed budget, Potter told members of the House Committee on Appropriations. The money would be used to support postage discounts and free services mandated by the government and postal security, he said.

The USPS-requested appropriations not funded by the government include:

· $51 million for security costs associated with the Biohazard Defense System, the Ventilation and Filtration System and a mail sanitization facility to be located in Washington. The administration included no money in its budget for these items.

· $29 million that the USPS says the government owes it for mandated discounts on certain classes of mail. The $29 million represents the 13th payment out of 42 payments that Congress has authorized the government to make to the postal service to fund $1.2 billion in costs incurred because of discount rates. But the administration has not included any money for the payment in its budget this year.

· $108.5 million for free services that the government requires the USPS to provide, including mail for the blind and sending absentee ballots overseas to members of the military. The administration budgeted only $87.3 million for these services.

The postal service has clashed with the administration recently over financial issues related to the Civil Service Retirement System. The USPS wants the government to fund CSRS benefits related to military service of employees — as is the case with other government agencies — while the administration is pushing the USPS to pay for the benefits out of rates.

The USPS also wants some of the savings from its overpayment into the CSRS system to be used to curtail rate increases. The administration wants all the money to be used to pre-fund future retiree benefits.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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