Close Video

Politics

US Postal Service defies Congress, will end Saturday mail delivery service in August

The struggling United States Postal Service is poised to take another step in its effort to curb costs and remain a viable organization by ceasing its Saturday mail delivery starting August 1.

USPS officials say it will save an estimated $2 billion a year by cutting back deliveries to five days a week. Most Americans support the action, with the exception of some rural areas, advertisers and magazine publishers.

Packages and express mail will continue to be delivered on Saturday, since that service has been one of the few to actually increase by 14 percent since 2010. USPS was hit hard by the economic downturn and as first class mail was greatly reduced by the evolution of email and social media.

Elimination of Saturday service has been contemplated for years, but was held up by Congressional bureaucracy. Now, the USPS plans to proceed without any Congressional seal of approval.

A Washington Post report put it this way:

The Senate last year passed a bipartisan measure that would have permitted an end to Saturday mail delivery only after USPS conducted two years of feasibility studies. But postal officials — and some GOP lawmakers — opposed that plan, arguing that reams of professional studies and a declining balance sheet already proved that the change was needed. A Republican-backed postal reform bill cleared a key committee last year, but was never considered by the full House.

Although mail would not be delivered on Saturday, post office locations would remain open to the public for access to mail boxes, dropping off packages, letters and to buy stamps. But hours may be reduced in some areas.

The Obama administration would likely support such a move since it was part of his budget-cutting proposals. USPS has not been funded by tax payers since the 1980s, but workers' compensation and retirement pensions are still tied up in the federal budget.

It was reported on CNBC news Wednesday that Darrell Issa, (D-Calif.) said he would support the move.

Lawmakers have contended that USPS has no authority to make the move without their approval, but postal officials are expected to argue they can act alone to eliminate Saturdays from their schedule.

The United States Post Office has roots back to 1775, when Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general.

***

Jean Williams, environmental and political journalist; PrairieDogPress writer; Artistic Director, Keystone Prairie Dogs.***PrairieDogPress is the media channel for keystone-prairie-dogs.com, which is a fundraising website to support environmental groups for extraordinary efforts to protect Great Plains habitat and prairie dogs in the wild. PDP uses humorous images, social commentary and serious-minded political reports to challenge government on numerous levels, including accountability to the people, the protection of threatened species, the environment and Earth’s natural resources.