Super: Congress votes to force broke Postal Service back into 6-day delivery

posted at 5:51 pm on March 21, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Rule of thumb for governments with unhealthy debt-to-GDP ratios and trillions in unfunded liabilities. When a floundering federal agency offers to shave off some spending, take them up on it.

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe announced in February they would be cutting Saturday service from the USPS six-day regimen, calculating the agency could save $2 billion annually. Donahoe cited the agency’s “urgent” financial situation:

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.

The Postal Service has suggested this change several times, but is always refused permission by Congress, which often asks USPS to improve its finances without giving it flexibility to do so. Even the allegedly drastic Ryan budget spares the Postal Service from vehicle fleet reductions imposed on other agencies despite the fact that mail volume has been steadily decreasing.

In November 2012, the USPS reported a net loss of $15.9 billion for the previous year. It defaulted on a $5.6 billion payment into its employees’ retirement health fund. It is forecasting a loss of $7.6 billion for the fiscal year that began last October.

In 2012 the USPS began a program to reduce costs by consolidating mail processing facilities. While that plan is proceeding, efforts to close post offices and to eliminate Saturday deliveries have hit political snags in Congress. An attempt to shut down up to 3,700 low-revenue post offices announced in 2012 was scaled back, instead resulting in reductions in operating hours for thousands of small rural locations.

As of now, your Saturday junk mail delivery is totally safe:

[Rep. Blake] Farenthold (R-Texas) supports the Postal Service’s desire to halt Saturday delivery.

“I don’t understand why the Saturday delivery [plan] isn’t a no brainer. … The big argument against not delivering on Saturday was how do people who work Monday through Friday get their medications and packages. Postal Service came up with a brilliant solution and that is, ‘Hey look, we’re just not going to bring the junk mail on Saturday. We’re still going to bring the packages.’”

But the GAO had already ruled that the Postal Service didn’t have the right to cut Saturday delivery, so who knows if the plan would have gone into effect in August, even without this legislation. See how easy cutting spending is?

The federal Government Accountability Office ruled Thursday that the financially struggling United States Postal Service can not 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.

As justification, lawmakers claimed they wanted updated figures on the savings the USPS calculated because Donahoe’s suggestion was bolstered by 2009 data:

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) noted in a joint statement that they asked Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe in a letter six weeks ago to justify the postal service’s projected savings.

“The Postal Service has failed to deliver in responding to congressional requests in a timely and responsive manner,” Connolly said. “The postmaster general demands that Congress quickly rubberstamp the elimination of Saturday mail delivery — yet refuses to explain how cost-savings were calculated — apparently expecting members to evaluate his policy proposal from press materials alone.”

The Postal Regulatory Commission actually provided McCaskill with an answer and an updated accounting, in this letter, but whatevs.

We got a high-end clothing line and Saturday junk mail to take care of!

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singlemalt 18 on March 21, 2013 at 5:55 PM

This decision is stupid, even by Congress standards.

bw222 on March 21, 2013 at 5:57 PM

OK, leave it open on Saturday, because folks who work M – F can’t get there during the week.

Why not close everything up & halt delivery on Wednesdays?
The world doesn’t end each Sunday when there’s no delivery.
Make Wednesday just like Sunday.

itsnotaboutme on March 21, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Raise Rates through the Roof, That’s the Answer
Yes it would seem to make sense in the current situation to cut Saturday delivery. Of course a business may not think cutting a key part of their service was the answer. But the usps is not a business.
If it were a business, it would understand something. You got to raise rates way the heck up. We’re talking doubling rates or more, and much higher rates for junk mail. Sure, the amount of mail would decline to a degree. But then the amount of employees and delivery vehicles etc could also be cut. Finally they’d make money. Yes, raise rates through the roof, that’s the answer.

anotherJoe on March 21, 2013 at 6:06 PM

The union apparently was wasting money on their ad campaign. No worries, taxpayers will pick up the tab regardless.

wolfsDad on March 21, 2013 at 6:13 PM

An arm or service of the government cutting costs? Sacrilege! Why, some other departments might get the same idea when an evil conservative is in charge, and that can’t be allowed to happen. Next thing you know, there might be actual pressure to cut overall spending!

No, no — a thousand times no!

Liam on March 21, 2013 at 6:16 PM

It’ll be up to 7 days a week, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, when they start mailing out IRS notices.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 21, 2013 at 6:17 PM

USPS seems to be in the business of delivering junk mail, newspaper fliers and such that the public tosses in the garbage without reading in just about 1999 cases out of 2000.

Their customers are the creaters of that junk mail, not the population whose boxes they fill 6 out of 7 days each week with that stuff.

Lourdes on March 21, 2013 at 6:18 PM

And Congress, you’re mad to take this action.

Let you and the USPS cut back on costs just like the taxpayers who are going without so you all can enjoy all your “benefits”.

Lourdes on March 21, 2013 at 6:19 PM

I would like to see the roll call please. This is a move of such stupid proportions anyone who voted for it should carry a new stain on their shirt.

Genuine on March 21, 2013 at 6:21 PM

If our royal Congress won’t even make this move, we are doomed.

SagebrushPuppet on March 21, 2013 at 6:25 PM

As long as the USPS survives on subsidies and is supported by the training wheels of big government they cannot ride freely under their own power.

kregg on March 21, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Congress wants us to get their campaign propaganda on Saturday, you know.

Curtiss on March 21, 2013 at 6:31 PM

(Channeling Pelosi): “We have to halt Saturday delivery to find out what’s not in it.”

I know one thing that’s not in it… it’s been years since I’ve seen anything even remotely resembling first-class mail on a Saturday. If it’s not good weather I won’t even walk to the box.

Marcola on March 21, 2013 at 6:31 PM

The National Association of Letter Carriers, NALC – was not going to go gently into the night on this.

We have met the enemy…. and it ain’t us.

FlaMurph on March 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Super: Congress votes to force broke Postal Service back into 6-day delivery
…of course, that would be really great if the nitwits of CONgress then did something to cut the bloated, unionized, over-paid, over-benefited postal work-(I use that term as a joke)-force and streamlined the operation/bureaucracy into something that is competitive, efficient and even profitable (like FedEx and UPS).

TeaPartyNation on March 21, 2013 at 6:37 PM

OK, leave it open on Saturday, because folks who work M – F can’t get there during the week.

itsnotaboutme on March 21, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Under the Post Office plan, Post Office locations would still be open on Saturdays. There would simply be no home delivery on Saturdays.

bw222 on March 21, 2013 at 6:40 PM

::SIGH::

More waste

TX-96 on March 21, 2013 at 6:41 PM

God is no one sane?
m,w,f all anyone needs, with fed ex and ups.

losarkos on March 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Are our leaders completely without common sense? Insane? or just idiots?

New York offers $500 reward for reporting illegal gun owners

ALBANY, N.Y. – Nearly a year before signing the nation’s most stringent gun control measure into law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a hotline that allows state residents to report illegal gun owners in exchange for a $500 reward.

New Yorkers can call the “Gun Tip Line” if they believe someone they know has an illegal gun. Hotline calls are answered by state police and tips are referred to local law enforcement, the station reported.

“This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and use their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward,” Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin told the station.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/21/new-york-state-offers-500-reward-for-reporting-illegal-gun-owners/?test=latestnews#ixzz2ODVFjusQ

Postal service? Homeland Security watching emails and web traffic? and the gun grabbing, and the amnesty, and on and on…..

PappyD61 on March 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Rotating non-delivery days, maybe?

Hell, I forget to check the mail now as it is. Nothing good ever comes that way.

Jeff Weimer on March 21, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Defies all logic and common sense.

SOP for liberal brainiacs.

fogw on March 21, 2013 at 7:14 PM

The dems are protecting the unions, that’s what’s going on. The postal union is against the closings and 5 day delivery, so the congressional dems are falling in line to keep the union contributions coming.

It always comes down to protecting their interest groups. Always.

PetecminMd on March 21, 2013 at 7:18 PM

You know what’s coming next. A taxpayer bailout to the USPS. What a tragedy the entire US government is. They have absolutely no clue how to run a moped, much less a nation. The post office is losing a billion dollars a quarter, just to deliver junk mail. We really only need mail delivered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The US government doesn’t want any more people going on unemployment while the Dems are in charge, that’s all. Forcing a company to lose money, when they are trying to stop the bleeding, is par for the dumb azz government. I really need to move out of this country, and my ancestors came here in the mid 1500′s. They would have never come here back then if this country was the POS that is is today.

F_This on March 21, 2013 at 7:39 PM

The Postal Regulatory Commission actually provided McCaskill with an answer and an updated accounting.

McCaskill is right on top of things, as usual.

Evidently the data provided was not to her liking.

GarandFan on March 21, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Un-frickin’ believable.

Corruption runs amok.

petefrt on March 21, 2013 at 9:17 PM

I’m for it. Steer the good ship SS Postal right into an iceberg. Hell add Sunday delivery!

Theworldisnotenough on March 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM


“Each resident of the United States shall receive annually via U.S. Mail no less than 200 First Class US postage stamps, with face value of said postage to be collected by the IRS as a mandatory tax due. Face value of postage shall be as approved by the USPS Board of Governors and the US Congress”

Problem solved.

BobMbx on March 21, 2013 at 10:01 PM

“The postmaster general President demands that Congress quickly rubberstamp elimination of Saturday mail delivery the Affordable Healthcare Act — yet refuses to explain how cost-savings were calculated — apparently expecting members to evaluate his policy proposal from press materials alone.”

Whoa.

BobMbx on March 21, 2013 at 10:10 PM

I saw two commercials with a sob story about saving your postal delivery, blah, blah, blah. They’re broke and they have money for a commercial?

Common Sense on March 21, 2013 at 10:36 PM

I’d be perfectly content if they delivered mail only on Saturday.

photom on March 21, 2013 at 11:14 PM

instead resulting in reductions in operating hours for thousands of small rural locations.

Translation: postal employees have the same amount of work to do, that usually takes the same amount of time to complete but for half the pay. Every time the Post Office comes up with an idea for progress or savings, Congress gets in their way. And Dems call themselves ‘progressives’?

HellCat on March 21, 2013 at 11:43 PM

We got a high-end clothing line and Saturday junk mail to take care of!

And a gazillion members of the postal union too.

petefrt on March 22, 2013 at 8:25 AM

I saw two commercials with a sob story about saving your postal delivery, blah, blah, blah. They’re broke and they have money for a commercial?

Common Sense on March 21, 2013 at 10:36 PM

Yeah, those ads are plastered all over TV in my area too.

Grrrr…

petefrt on March 22, 2013 at 8:27 AM

They could eliminate delivery entirely (think Pony Express) and I wouldn’t miss it. As it is, I’m down to checking my snail mail about once a week and 95% of it is garbage. Virtually everything I care about is delivered electronically or via UPS/FedEx.

glockomatic on March 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM

I’m for keeping Saturday delivery “as is” until such time as ALL of the side effects and ancillary problems associated with a potential change are completely and effectively solved.

Examples:

In many legal processes, you are PRESUMED to have received a properly MAILED notice within X days. This presumption MUST BE CHANGED if the number of delivery days is reduced and delivery times are therefore increased. Credit card payments, utility bills, and tax bills are just a few of the time-critical communications which would be affected!!

Note that virtually all disputes with banks, credit card issuers, and Federal, State, County, and Local tax authorities REQUIRE timely notice and/or response from you VIA MAIL. You could suddenly find yourself held in contempt or subject to a default judgement based on a notice you NEVER RECEIVED…or a notice sent by you which the bank NEVER RECEIVED…just because your post office thoughtlessly chose to discontinue Saturday deliveries!!!

As with many discussions where government is involved, this entire discussion is MIS-TARGETED!!! The issue is NOT “cost to the government“: the issue IS “cost to US citizens“!!! The government should be subordinate to its citizens: this is what “Government of the People” MEANS!!!

landlines on March 22, 2013 at 12:58 PM

What do you expect out of the buffons in Congress. Stupid, tone deaf, lazy idiots that are completely out of touch with reality. VOTE THE SCUM BAGS OUT, REGARDLESS OF PARTY. It doesn’t matter if they are Dimocrats or Repubelicans, they all need to go.

georgeofthedesert on March 22, 2013 at 5:06 PM