Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Weekly newspapers' lobby generates agreement on bill to at least delay end of Saturday mail delivery

Lobbying by weekly and small-daily newspapers and others is on the verge of pushing back the U.S. Postal Service's plan to end Saturday mail delivery.

"We have had a tremendous breakthrough on preserving Saturday mail delivery," Tonda Rush, chief executive and lobbyist for the National Newspaper Association, said in an email this afternoon. She said a bipartisan bill "will require USPS to carry out significant cost cutting steps and seek new review by both the Government Accountability Office and the Postal Regulatory Commission before it can again seek to move to 5 day" delivery, a step that seemed closer after President Obama and House Republicans largely agreed on it.

The bill would prohibit USPS from taking any steps to eliminate Saturday delivery for two years. "In that time, we hope the other cost-cutting measures are sufficient to avoid ever taking this step," Rush said. The bill is to be introduced today by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Tom Carper, R-Del.; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. "We have miles to go before this becomes law," Rush said, "but we are moving quickly now to help get this bill passed." The NNA website is here. For a summary of the bill, click here.

The undersigned, the director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, testified before the Postal Regulatory Commission last year on behalf of NNA, arguing that an end to Saturday delivery would have a disproportionate impact in rural America. The PRC essentially adopted that position, saying more study on rural impact was needed before Saturday delivery is eliminated.

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