Postal Rate Hike Proposal Faces Senate Scrutiny

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Postal Service's proposal to raise the price of mailing a letter to 49 cents is sure to face scrutiny from lawmakers as a Senate panel considers bipartisan legislation to overhaul the cash-strapped agency.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's appearance today before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee comes a day after the post office said it wants to raise the price of a first-class stamp by 3 cents next year.

He's pressing lawmakers to act quickly on legislation to fix his agency, which expects to lose $6 billion this year.

In its rate hike request, the postal Board of Governors cited the agency's "precarious financial condition" and the uncertain prospects for postal overhaul legislation in Congress.

The rate proposal must be approved by the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.