U.S. Postal Service to Cut Saturday Mail Delivery to Save $2 Billion per Year

The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it plans to end Saturday mail delivery to cut costs.

Saturday mail will soon go the way of the Pony Express and penny postcards. Photo: Aranami/Flickr

The Postal Service unveiled its plans to return to five-day-a-week deliveries for everything except packages, ending a 150-year tradition to cover its financial losses in a world conquered by the Internet.

“The mail isn’t that important to me anymore. I don’t sit around waiting for it to come. It’s a sign of the times,” said one of passers-by, adding: “It’s not like anyone writes letters anymore.”

“We are simply not in a financial position where we can continue to make six-day letter delivery,” Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, announced to reporters during a morning news conference.

“Making this change to our delivery schedule is a big-ticket item,” he continued. “It would be irresponsible for the Postal Service not to pursue this course.”

The service will continue to deliver packages six days a week. The plan, due to which about $2 billion would be saved, is to take effect in August.

However, it’s still unclear, how the service can cancel Saturday mail delivery without approval of Congress, explains Fox News.

For the past decades, Congress has included a provision insisting on Saturday delivery. That provision still stands, leaving some on the Hill bewildered about the announcement Wednesday.

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, commented on the news Wednesday, saying that the move “flouts the will of Congress.”

“Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s plan to end Saturday delivery is a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers,” Rolando said in a statement.

“It would be particularly harmful to small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication.”

But Donahoe said that “we think we’re on good footing with this.” He also admitted that the law governing the agency’s operations expires at the end of next month, and if there’s any disagreement it can be resolved by then.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the two top Republicans on the House and Senate committees will issue a letter Wednesday going to House and Senate leaders, asking them to support the elimination of Saturday Postal service.

The letter reads, in part, “What has impeded the Postal Service from phasing out universal Saturday delivery of letters is an appropriations rider carried in law since 1984 that ties six-day mail delivery to the acceptance of roughly $100 million in reimbursement from the federal government for services rendered by the Postal Service.”

“According to Postal Service estimates, the rider constitutes a more than $2.5 billion annual unfunded mandate. With the current [fiscal year] 2013 government funding resolution set to expire at the end of March, we ask that the six-day mail rider be omitted from any subsequent government funding legislation, enabling the Postal Service to implement this necessary reform without impediment.”

And, they point out: “This change has bipartisan support. President Obama has repeatedly called for moving to five-day delivery of mail, most recently in his FY 2013 budget. Furthermore, according to an October 2011 Quinnipiac poll fully 79 percent of Americans endorse the shift.”

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