WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The financially strapped Postal Service is asking for a 3-cent increase in the price of a first class stamp, raising it to 49 cents. The  chairman of the postal Board of Governors, Mickey Barnett, warned the agency is in a “precarious financial condition.”

The post office expects to lose $6 billion this year. Last year, the agency lost $16 billion.

The request for the increase in stamp prices must be approved by the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.

Media and marketing businesses say a big increase in rates could hurt them and lower postal volume and revenues.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is urging lawmakers to take swift action on legislation to fix his agency’s finances. Without help from Congress, the agency expects its multibillion-dollar annual losses to worsen. He warned that the agency’s cash liquidity remains dangerously low.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee which oversees the Postal Service, called the request “a desperate cry for help from an insolvent Postal Service.”

In addition to raising stamp prices, the USPS has suggested ending Saturday deliveries as a way to cut costs. But that proposal has met with resistance from Capitol Hill.

The agency last raised postage rates on Jan. 27th. At the time, the cost of a first-class stamp went up by a penny, to 46 cents.


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