Senate Fights to Keep Saturday Mail Deliveries

by Nate Wooley | March 15, 2013 10:48 am

NewLetters[1]A provision in the Senate’s budget proposal would require the United States Postal Service to continue Saturday mail deliveries.

The Senate proposal — which is very similar to a House proposal that passed earlier — would require the postal service to continue providing all services on Saturdays, reports The New York Times[2].

Citing budget pressures, last month U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced that Saturday delivery of letter mail would end in August. Delivery of packages and other non-letter mail would continue.

The USPS faces significant challenges due to congressional requirements to fully fund its future retiree health funds out to 75 years of anticipated expenses. That requires the system to pay out up to $5.5 billion dollars per year to fund future retirees. No other agency has a similar requirement.

Opinions are mixed about whether congress can require the postal service — which accepts no federal money but is governed by congress — to delivery mail on Saturdays. However, congress does have the ability to place pressure on the service by controlling the amount that can be charged for postage and other operational requirements.

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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