A key lawmaker is continuing to press for ending Saturday mail delivery after Congress again failed to approve a broader overhaul of U.S. Postal Service operations.
“We must act now if the Postal Service is to endure as an independent, self-funding agency,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a letter urging an end to a long-standing congressional requirement for six-day mail delivery. The requirement is renewed each year as part of a spending bill; the letter asks House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., to drop the provision from a fiscal 2014 spending package likely to be introduced in the next two weeks.
Issa’s office released a copy of the letter, dated Dec. 19, this week; a Rogers spokeswoman declined comment Thursday. Also on Dec. 19, Issa introduced a bill to give the Postal Service the go-ahead for five-day mail delivery while repealing cuts in future cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees that are part of a budget agreement signed last month.
Ending Saturday mail delivery, while continuing to deliver packages, is a priority for Postal Service leaders, who estimate that the move would save $1.9 billion per year. The Obama administration is on board with the idea. In Congress, Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the comparable Senate panel, have introduced legislation that would allow five-day mail delivery as part of a broader revamp of postal operations.
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WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced the introduction of legislation to allow the U.S. Postal Service to implement a modified six-day delivery schedule and repeal reductions in military pensions made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The military pension cuts were made to achieve $6.2 billion in savings over 10 years.
“This legislation will restore Cost-of-Living Adjustments for our military retirees and not only replace the savings but nearly triple them– saving $17 billion over 10 years according to conservative USPS estimates,” said Chairman Issa. “This common sense reform will help restore the cash-strapped Postal Service to long-term solvency and is supported by the President and key Congressional leaders in both chambers.”
USPS is forced to deliver paper mail, like bills and advertisements, six days a week by an unfunded mandate included in annual appropriations legislation. If the mandate is lifted, the Postmaster General has announced that USPS would modify its current delivery schedule to deliver packages 6 days a week and paper mail 5 days a week. Express and priority mail delivery would not change, and post offices would remain open on Saturdays.
Chairman Issa recently outlined the benefits of ending the unfunded mandate in a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)
Full text of H.R. 3801, can be viewed here.
SEC. 2. NATIONWIDE MAIL DELIVERY SCHEDULE.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 404 of title 39, United States Code, is amended by inserting after subsection (e)
‘‘(f)(1) The Postal Service may establish a general, nationwide mail delivery schedule of 5 days per week.
‘‘(2) The Postal Service shall ensure that, under any schedule established under paragraph (1), there shall not occur more than 2 consecutive days on which mail is not delivered, including as a result of Federal holidays
‘‘(3) For a period not to end before January 1, 2019, the Postal Service shall provide domestic competitive product service 6 days per week to each street address that was scheduled to receive package service 6 days per week as of September 30, 2012.
‘‘(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a reduction, or to require an increase, in frequency of mail delivery for any address for which the Postal Service provided delivery on fewer than 6 days per week as 23 of January 1, 2013.’’.
(b) MAILBOX ACCESS.—If the United States Postal Service establishes a general, nationwide mail delivery
schedule of 5 days per week, the Postal Service shall amend the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal
Service (as set forth in the Domestic Mail Manual) to ensure that the provisions of section 508.3.2.10 of such
5 Manual, as in effect on September 30, 2012, shall apply on any day on which the Postal Service does not deliver mail under the established delivery schedule.