The United States Postal Service, grappling with a gaping budget shortfall that could lead to a default, is considering whether to cut costs by eliminating some 250 mail processing centers around the country.

The Postal Service has for years struggled to make up lost money as the Internet has eclipsed and sometimes replaced snail mail. The trend has been exacerbated as the recession has cut down on advertising mail, leading to a $8.5 billion shortfall last year.

We simply need fewer facilities to process less mail, said Megan Brennan, the chief operating officer of the Postal Service, at a press conference.

The closings could save the agency as much as $3 billion while also leading to the layoffs of up to 35,000 workers. Postal Service officials have been petitioning Congress for the authority to cut costs by undertaking measures like suspending Saturday delivery.