Senate passage of an overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service shifts pressure to the House to beat a May 15 deadline, when the organization said it may start closing thousands of post offices and hundreds of mail processing sites.

"I hope it puts a little pressure on the House to act," Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman, the Senate bill's sponsor, said after passage yesterday. He said House consideration of the bill as late as July would be "too late."

The cash-strapped Postal Service agreed in December to a five-month moratorium on its plan to close as many as 3,700 post offices and more than 220 mail processing plants. The Senate bill would further delay the closures and set additional requirements for justifying them.

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