First-class battle over Saturday mail delivery

The USPS has said it will stop weekend service, but Congress is mulling a move to block the change.

By Aimee Picchi Mar 18, 2013 1:36PM

Mailboxes in Providence, Rhode Island (© Barry Winiker/Photolibrary/Getty Images)When the U.S. Postal Service said it would halt Saturday deliveries starting this summer, many customers and postal workers complained and even organized protests.


Now Congress is getting into the debate, with the Senate considering a provision that would require the Postal Service to continue six-day-a-week deliveries, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's similar to a provision the House passed and in effect would tell the USPS that it must keep delivering on Saturdays. The Postal Service operates as an independent agency but is subject to congressional oversight.


Congress' message isn't going down smoothly. 


For one, the plan to end Saturday delivery was designed to reduce costs by $2 billion and limit losses at the Postal Service, which mounted to $15.9 billion last year. That's rallying several Republicans to the USPS' defense, including Senator Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Representative Darrell Issa (Calif.), The New York Times says.


By telling the Postal Service it must continue Saturday delivery, Congress is "hastening (the service's) demise and probably adding additional financial burdens to U.S. taxpayers," Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said earlier this month, according to TheHill.com.


Currently, no law mandates that the USPS deliver mail six days a week. So Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe earlier made the announcement about ceasing Saturday delivery  without congressional approval, notes The Times. 


That has reportedly frustrated some lawmakers, who see Donahoe as trying to bypass Congress. Through a spokesman, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., told The Times: "The Postal Service will still have to deliver mail on Saturdays."


While it remains unclear what will happen with the provision, it's increasingly turning into a brawl between Congress and the USPS. 


The Postal Service "will continue its planning for the August implementation of the new delivery schedule, while Congress debates," a spokesman said on Friday, according to The Journal.


More on moneyNOW

86Comments
Mar 18, 2013 1:58PM
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The USPS service needs to be self sufficient. Cutting Sat mail will not harm anyone. Congress needs to wake up and let the USPS be run like a business.
Mar 18, 2013 3:23PM
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USPS was doing alright until REP. ISSAC got a bill passed by GOP to have USPS pay 75 years of benefits in 10 years for future employees. Taxpayer didn't support USPS Before this bill was passed USPS was self sufficient. the GOP"S goal was to put USPS out of business so private companies can take over.

Mar 18, 2013 3:36PM
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I would like to see any other busines have Congress in their pockets and telling them how to work and spend their money and see how long they can last. They wouldnt make it a month. Plus pay benefits for people that arent even born yet????? Morons. And yet the postal workers get the bad rap???? I dont think so.
Mar 18, 2013 3:16PM
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The USPS moves all of the Federal Government's postage for free. Maybe if we charged everyone for mail they would have a profit. It is hard to tell with all of the freebees that the service does.
Mar 18, 2013 2:52PM
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When I was very young we had mail delivery twice a day before Truman cut it to once as an emergency provision for the Korean War. We learned to make do with that very easily.

They should not eliminate Sat delivery, instead they should go to three days a week. Each carrier would have two sets of routes. One Mon, Wen. Fri & the other Tues, Thurs & Sat. Those routes that were mostly businesses would as much as possible be on the Mon, Wen & Sat schedule.

Those who felt the need for all six days could get a Post Office box & the box sections should be expanded if necessary.

That would not only cut the number of carriers  nearly in half but also the vehicles & mileage. The increase in volume to be delivered would make the total cuts a bit less than half. Many of the excess people could be retained to eliminate overtime.

Mar 18, 2013 4:10PM
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They always scream about cutting spending, then , scream when it actually is planned . Hypocrites!
Mar 18, 2013 3:46PM
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USPS does NOT need to be self-sufficient. It's needs to be functional. It is that right now. If Congress is intent on Saturday delivery service... let's make sure they CHIP IN to fund it. So far, all we've gotten from this DEADBEAT Congress is bickering and stonewalling.
Mar 18, 2013 4:29PM
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Congress are the ones who got the USPS into this financial difficulty in the first place by shifting pensions from other dept. to the USPS in 1993 and 1996.  It is time to undo those changes and let the post office get back on it's feet.  Congress is known for screwing things up in the first place.
Mar 18, 2013 1:59PM
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if the post office was smart they ask for a 2.00 a stamp, raise..then maybe government  get off there back side and do something beside drinking and partying.
Mar 18, 2013 3:14PM
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Why is Congress so hell-bent on bankrupting the USPS?  I enjoy getting all those advertisements, scam letters, and coupons to places that aren't even in my state from a disgruntled guy in blue shorts and knee-high socks.
Mar 18, 2013 4:06PM
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.............. $$$$$$ Billions, not millions !!!!!!
..... What every American should know
Most Americans probably just didn't care when they found out that the U.S. taxpayers have unknowingly and wrongfully paid approx. $75 Billion
to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Are people talking about this? How can this be? could it be only millions, no way billions? Most people just brush it off thinking it's unbelievable............ Wow, If they only knew!
Read this and let it sink in...billions, not millions .......of your money.
--- Over and over again the U.S.Postal Service has taken the blame for postage rate increases. But, did you know the real reason why ? Was it necessary? This article will tell the reason behind that issue.
First, many do not know that the Postal Service must prepay every employee's pension as mandated by law. This is the only government agency required to do so. Something of this magnitude is unheard of in any business in America... Can you think of any Company anywhere that does that....fully fund an employee's pension before they retire ........None! That reason alone is what will probably put an end to what is now called the U.S. Postal Service. But the most interesting thing about this is that you (the taxpayers) have wrongfully overpaid for that.
The Government screws one of their own .... that's right, The OPM overcharged the U.S. Postal Service...one government agency screwed the other ...
The Post Office did nothing wrong. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) actually manages the federal government and civil service. The(OPM) is another branch of the US Government . (OPM) is responsible for the Postal Service retirement funds. The OPM tells the Postal Service what amount is necessary for this retirement funding and the Postal Service pays it... which they did. Eventually, the Post Office had an audit which discovered OPM overinflated the payments using the wrong calculations based on projected pay & future inflation. The audit results were presented to the Postal Service, Management, Office of Personnel Management & Congress, and all agreed that $75 billion was an overpayment. That in a nutshell is simply what happened. It's hard to believe that one branch of the Government could do this to the other, but that's exactly what took place. Now it will take Congress to return the money. To date nothing has been repaid on the $75 billion. During a recent hearing before Congress, one Congressman suggested it ($75 billion) should be returned to the tax payers, since it's been funded through postage rates and rightfully belongs to the them (taxpayers). If Congress does not return the money, all taxpayers will in some form or another have to cover the Post Office current shortfalls... in the end we all pay.
Now you finally understand the postage rate increases for the past few years, Many often wondered why they needed to do it. It was simply because the Postal Service had to overpay year after year on pension overpayment making them fall short on their yearly buget and forcing postage rate increases to cover this mistake. If the $75 billion is returned to the Postal Service (which is rightfully theirs), it can be used to cover current fiscal year deficit and beyond ......That $75 billion would have had the Postal Service in the black every year.
............. looks like Government bites themselves in the _ _ _ on this one! Silly for anyone to think that Social Security will someday do the Government in, their doing it to themselves !!!!!
Thinking maybe this article is not true? ... Actually it's FACT, go ahead and verify it ... Google it, contact your congressman, or better yet, next time you're at the Post Office ask the person behind the counter about the ..." $75 billion pension overpayment"................ anywhere you look you'll see It's true ....
What every American should know...Unbelievable, but true!

Mar 18, 2013 4:12PM
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A reasonable way to save money and the politicians stone it.
Mar 18, 2013 4:37PM
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The post office should be left to run itself without congress medling in. The Postmaster General should determine what is the best approcah to a solid profitable and sustanable business model  and stop the red ink.
Mar 18, 2013 3:30PM
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CUT SATURDAY DELIVERY. If it has to be there on Sat, use fed express, or wait till Monday. We have to start cutting, and then cut the postal workers ridiculously high pay.
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Other than junk, I'll get something that ticks me off from a company or government agency that is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so I stew all weekend until I can call on Monday. Keep my weekends serene, shut Saturday delivery down.

Mar 19, 2013 12:29AM
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Congress needs to stay out of the USPS business. Let the USPS run the business without political interference and it will be back on it's feet in just a few years. Congress can't be trusted to run a lemonade stand.
Mar 18, 2013 4:24PM
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USPS has no worries here.  Congress can't decide on anything anyway--------EVER.
Mar 18, 2013 3:51PM
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How about do away with the requirement to fund retirements 75 years out. How about making USPS operate like a revenue producing business instead of a money pit that sucks more from taxpayers. The USPS is the most closest example of why Government is like a 6 year old kid in a candy store. If something fails to earn revenue, then it should be scrapped, like all failed business collapse. If the USPS cannot do what Fed-ex and UPS does, then why are they still allowed to operate at a loss. This is ridiculous. As far as we have come, why we cannot streamline the mail system is mind boggling. Junk mail should be the first to go. It is unneeded and unnecessary in this day and age when advertising is everywhere. Business could do a lot better job of getting their ads out. Geico, for instance, sends me junk flyers every week asking me to switch to geico and blah blah. I am allready a geico member and a cross refrenced database would tell them that. I had to manually request a new Def driving certificate from the National highway safety because Geico cannot afford to run these requests thru state DMV's,(Its how they keep costs down they tell me). The operator had nothing to say when i asked why they do not know i am currently a member based on the weekly sign up flyers i get. I stated that knowing who is allready a customer and who is not would benefit them and reduce costs, (as they are so clearly focused on) and then could end the waste of sending junk mail flyers to Geico customers. SIlence.............................. must have been a duh moment. Yeah, i recieved 3 more flyers since then. Way to reduce those costs Geico....
Mar 18, 2013 4:11PM
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Washing has to stop the over payment the post office. The payments they have to make for health and retirement for people that have not even been born yet. This payment is killing them and will kill the post office. Stopping mail on Saturday will c Companyyoast about 100,00 postal workers their jobs. Small business that need their mail on Saturday will be heart .  Washington needs to give the post office the over payment back and the the post office would be just fine.
Mar 18, 2013 4:24PM
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Congress is showing it's true total lack of management ability to even consider such a possible move.  Who cares about Saturday delivery, most snail mail is junk ads anyway.   If something important is received on Saturday you can't call to straighten it out until Monday anyway. Congress please step aside and let the idiots  you put  in charge of the USPS show us how really stupid they are with out your  getting involved.    Any operation that is five day a week should be able to show considerable savings over a  6 day week, even considering some of work force would be required on Saturday and probably Sunday to move the mail between cities.   I  can't wait to hear management say it can't save money by eliminating Saturday deliveries.   This management still won't be able to save money when the doors are locked  and  USPS closes down!!   From what Congress hasn't done over the last four years it is obvious they don't  read their mail anyway, and I certainly don't read the crap they send me.
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