Neither rain now snow nor dark gloom of night will keep mail carriers from delivering mail, but money just might. The Postal Service plans to eliminate mail delivery on Saturdays beginning this summer.
The Postal Service has announced mail delivery will go to five days a week. Door-to-door deliveries on Saturdays will be eliminated the week of August 5.
Federal Postmaster General Patrick Donahue on Wednesday defied Congress by stating the Postal Service will halt Saturday mail with or without their approval.
A provision in legislation currently requires mail to be delivered six days a week. That provision expires in March. Although the Postal Service has been unsuccessful in the past, Donahue has once again asked Congress not to renew the legislation.
This battle is more than just a tiny paper cut. Congress has full control over the 236-year-old federal service, but the USPS is not funded by federal tax dollars. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that requires USPS to pre-fund its employee pension over the next 75 years. No other federal company operates under the requirement.
Despite its efficiency for only 46 cents to the consumer, the USPS is bleeding billions of dollars. Donahue has attributed debt problems to the pension requirement. Last year, USPS stated a loss of $16 billion and estimates an overall $236 billion budget fall by 2020 without any action.
So, their reactionary plan is to eliminate Saturday mail service. Pat Eagan understands the need for change.
"I like to get the mail, but I'll get a bigger mail on Monday," said Eagan. "So, what's the difference? It isn't like I'm not going to get it."
Getting mail may require people to go to their local post offices on Saturday. USPS explained post offices would remain open if such local post offices currently have weekend hours.
USPS may also have found a loophole in the current six-day provision. Packages, Express Mail, and P.O. Box mail would still be delivered on Saturdays, thus making USPS "open" six days a week.
Those who live in rural areas, like Hannah Smith-Brubaker, contend the move may make receiving mail a little more difficult.
"We're a farm, so we are working every single day and not getting letters on Saturday will actually be a pretty big inconvenience for us," she said, "but we understand why they have to do it."
USPS said the move would save roughly $2 billion in the first year and about $5 billion a year by 2020.
"Congress needs to get a grip," Smith-Brubaker said. "They're making it very difficult for the post office to be able to make reasonable decisions on how they handle their budget."
Believe it or not, prior lawmakers were not as stubborn on Saturday deliveries. Mail carriers have been delivering mail on Saturdays since 1863. However, in 1947, 1957 and 1964, Saturday mail deliveries were halted for a short period of time respectively due to budget cuts.
Our nation has come accustomed to the elimination of such accommodations. Like milk, evening newspapers, and of course the 30-minute pizza delivery, weekend mail is another costly convenience that'll soon be extinct.
"We'll deal with it," Eagan said. "We've dealt with other things."
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