WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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.