Lieberman poised to win big on postal bill

Washington — Sen. Joe Lieberman has spent weeks pleading, chiding and compromising to win approval of a bill that would blunt the U.S. Postal Service’s plans to close hundreds of facilities and curtail mail service.

On Tuesday, it appeared Lieberman, an independent, was close to victory.

The Senate is considering 39 amendments to Lieberman’s bill, including one that would prohibit the Postal Service from closing, consolidating or reducing the workforce at certain postal facilities. Two Connecticut processing plants are on the chopping block, one in Stamford and one in Wallingford, with some of their work shifted to a processing center in Hartford.

Final approval of the postal bill is expected Wednesday.

Lieberman’s bill would ease the postal services’ financial straits by requiring a return of about $11 billion in overpayments to the federal employees retirement system and spending $2 billion on buyout packages to entice senior workers to retire.

Lieberman’s efforts are opposed by most Senate Republicans, including close friend Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who said the bill “will continue the failing business model of the Postal Service.”

Lieberman fought back.

“There are 8 million jobs that depend, one way or another, on the functioning of the U.S. Postal Service. It’s not realistic to speak as if it’s dead and gone,” he said. “We come not to bury the U.S. Postal Service, but to keep it alive and well forever.”