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Postal Service delays closing processing centers and post offices

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The beleaguered U.S. Postal Service is putting off plans for heavy cuts as it waits for Congress to decide whether to afford it more autonomy.

Instead of starting to close hundreds of mail processing centers and thousands of post offices in April, the postal service said a group of legislators asked it to delay the moves until May 15.

The quasi-public service, which gets no tax money from the government but is beholden to congressional oversight, is awaiting the fate of a bill that could give it more leeway to raise prices and modify its operations.

The postal service is facing bankruptcy as it suffers from plunging mail volume caused by former customers turning to the Internet to send correspondence. The service finances itself using sales of stamps and services.

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Officials have already said that overnight delivery of first-class mail could be at risk. The service, which faces a $14-billion budget shortfall in 2012, plans to close 252 mail processing plants -- about half the total.

To become profitable, the postal service said it would have to cut its operating costs by $20 billion by 2015.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

at a post office in Seattle to begin delivery. Credit: Elaine Thompson / Associated Press


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