A new Republican-sponsored House Appropriations bill requires the U.S. Postal Service to continue delivering mail on Saturday, contrary to a plan announced by the postmaster general to stop six-day service.
According to The Hill newspaper
, the postal rider on the appropriations measure is part of the continuing resolution that would fund government spending through fiscal 2013 and avoid a shutdown after the current stopgap spending measure expires on March 27.
The appropriations process has been used by Congress for at least the last three decades to order postal officials to continue Saturday delivery. But in recent years, the postal service has lost billions of dollars, and Postmaster General Patrick Donahue put forward a plan last month to get rid of Saturday delivery of first-class mail beginning in August, which he said would save roughly $2 billion a year.
“You don’t want the Postal Service to fail in this country. It’s my responsibility, and I’ve taken that responsibility to make sure that we do everything in our power,” he told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “And I’m imploring Congress, please do not force us back into a six-day window. Let us make the move in August.”
It’s not clear whether the agency can implement its plans without congressional approval. But House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa supports Donahue’s proposal.
A spokesman for Issa told The Hill that the chairman believes the agency has “the authority to implement the modified Saturday delivery plan under current law.” He said he believes the Postal Service retains that authority even if this provision in the appropriations bill is passed.
Donahue has frequently cited polls showing that public opinion is in favor of stopping six-day service.
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