Congress in no rush to cut mail delivery

Despite the U.S. Postal Service's persistent financial distress, Congress appears unlikely this year to approve the postmaster general's cost-cutting proposal to eliminate Saturday mail delivery.

"There's no political will to do it right now," said Jerry Cerasale, a lobbyist for the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group of businesses and nonprofit organizations that relies largely on mail to communicate with customers. "The only way that you'd really see it happen is if the dire financial straits of the Postal Service continue well into the future."

As they have every year since 1983, House and Senate appropriators stipulated in the fiscal 2010 spending bills covering the Postal Service that it must deliver mail six days a week. There were no attempts to change the language in the Financial Services Appropriations bill before it passed the House in July. The companion bill in the Senate awaits floor action, but so far there has been no groundswell of support for cutting back on mail delivery.

But House and Senate lawmakers have not completely abandoned the idea of a shift to five-day delivery. Chairmen of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and House Homeland Security subcommittees that deal with postal issues -- Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., and Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass. -- have said lawmakers should keep the option on the table.

The urgency to make drastic changes in mail delivery waned significantly last month when Congress passed a one-year fix to relieve the Postal Service of having to make a $5.9 billion advance payment to its retiree health fund.

Also hurting prospects for a cutback in mail delivery is a continuing dispute over how much money the change could save.

Postmaster General John Potter, who proposed five-day delivery in January, contends that ending Saturday delivery could save his agency up to $3.5 billion annually. But a concurrent estimate by the Postal Regulatory Commission put projected savings at $1.9 billion.

Unions representing postal workers have lobbied heavily against the slashing of Saturday delivery, arguing that the move would not only cost jobs but would create a void that would be filled quickly by private services such as United Parcel Service and Federal Express.

"It would be the beginning of the death knell," said Drew Von Bergen, spokesman for the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.