Business

Federal ruling: Postal Service can't cut Saturday mail

Posted March 21, 2013

— The federal Government Accountability Office ruled Thursday that the financially struggling United States Postal Service cannot stop Saturday mail delivery as a cost-cutting measure.

Last month, the USPS announced that it would move to weekday-only mail service the week of Aug. 5, despite a provision in the 2012 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act requiring six-day and rural service.

The service says that provision is null and void because a continuing resolution passed by Congress in lieu of a federal budget bill doesn't provide funding to make Saturday delivery financially feasible.

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages – and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully appealed to Congress to approve the move. The USPS is an independent agency – which means it gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations – but is subject to congressional control.

Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe said in a Feb. 6 press conference that the USPS was in "urgent" financial shape and that cutting back mail service would save about $2 billion annually.

Under the proposed cutback, the USPS still planned to continue six-day package delivery, which has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say. The delivery of letters and other mail, however, has declined substantially with the increasing use of email and other Internet services.

87 Comments

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  • superman Mar 22, 5:38 p.m.

    The junk mail probably does more to help them than hurt. How do you think magazines, newspapers, radio and tv continue and making a profit. It is all that advertising. The cost of the subscription hardly pays for the postage. If they stopped the "junk" mail postage would go up.

  • Rozman Mar 22, 10:06 a.m.

    I love the folks touting a priovate-sector solution. So your mail would work as well and as cheaply as your (current) health care, cable and phone services?

    You seem to forget that UPS and FedEx get a pass on the low-efficiency side of the service because USPS exists. Private industry is great at handling elective services, but when they provide essential services (for a profit) things don't turn out so well.

    Not to the say the government has a sparkling record; there has to be cooperation between the government and private industry to make these things work because either one alone will fail.

  • AConservativePerson Mar 22, 9:26 a.m.

    Start charging Congress for all the free mail that they send out and the USPS would be in the black in no time.

  • BurninStick Mar 21, 7:54 p.m.

    For consideration: regulate junk mail or, at least, rethink junk mail rates. Dang, waaay too many unsolicited box stuffers.

  • meldenis Mar 21, 7:20 p.m.

    Time to rewrite the law.

  • ncmike Mar 21, 7:14 p.m.

    Privatize it. Then when people complain like heck it will be the last time it ever happens, and if it works, it will be a model for more privatization...can see it being a losing proposition either way.

  • jworthington Mar 21, 7:06 p.m.

    I am also one that says, get rid of it and let the private sector do it. The service has been reduced to a junk mail carrier and is now an obsolete and unnecessary service for the gov't to provide.

  • TeAcH12 Mar 21, 6:52 p.m.

    As the wife of a postal worker, they do pay for health care, dental, vision, a retirement, and taxes! And for the comments about UPS, well they do not deliver past a certain point, and give the USPS their packages to deliver. The postal service is NOT funded by the tax payers anymore and yet the government wont let them make changes to become profitable. No other company has to prefund to the amount the USPS does and Congress took that money and used it for other projects.

  • workingforthosethatwont Mar 21, 6:49 p.m.

    if they could just get it right the other five days I would be happy. I get mail for other streets on a regular basis.
    next time you go into a post office to conduct business, look who is working there and how fast they move from one customer to the next. they don't care how long you stand there and are never in a hurry to wait on anyone. close them down as far as I'm concerned.

  • Terkel Mar 21, 6:43 p.m.

    corvair024, let me guess further: they told you you're crazy and the only one who's ever complained; and asked why you think the letter carrier has a personal grudge against you.

    On the main site, there's an 800 number to call for persistent problems. I've gone 6 months now with no further games from my carrier since I called that number.

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