(WASHINGTON) -- With massive layoffs and closings looming, the United States Postal Service has given itself a reprieve.
The USPS was prepared to shutter 250 mail processing plants that would have resulted in 28,000 layoffs beginning at the start of next year but with the clock ticking fast, the agency said it would hold off on any action until May 15.
This moratorium would presumably give Congressional lawmakers more time to find ways of reforming the post office so that first-class mail and Saturday deliveries would not be affected.
Still, with the USPS losing billions every year, agency officials say Washington's plans have to be bold and decisive. Up to now, that hasn't been the case.
Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, who is leading the effort to save the post office, challenged his fellow lawmakers on Tuesday "to put up or shut up."
Durbin said, "If you don't like what the postal service has put forward (to cut costs) by closing processing facilities and post offices and eliminating jobs, then come up with a better approach. It's a challenge we need to accept, and this agreement with the postal service gives us that opportunity."
Meanwhile, unions, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, praised the temporary reprieve and expressed hope that Congress would come up with a solution to the crisis.
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