Thursday, June 26, 2014

House committee passes amendment adding six-day mail delivery to fiscal 2015 funding bill

Saturday mail delivery has received a stay of execution. The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved an amendment attached to the fiscal 2015 funding bill that would require the agency to deliver mail six days per week, Eric Katz reports for Government Executive. "The six-day rider has been included in every postal-related appropriations bill since 1983," but the language was not included in the subcommittee version of the 2015 bill.
The bipartisan amendment by Reps. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) and Tom Latham (R-Iowa), easily passed, Katz writes. The only outspoken opposition was from Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, who nevertheless said “I encourage you all to vote your conscience."

In February 2013 the U.S. Postal Service announced a plan to end Saturday delivery, except packages, in an attempt to save the cash-strapped agency $2 billion annually, but USPS "was forced to backtrack when the Government Accountability Office ruled that the appropriations rider prevented the agency from delivering fewer than six days per week," Katz notes.

"More than 220 lawmakers, including 40 Republicans, have signed on to a resolution sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) to ensure six-day mail delivery," Katz reports. "The House’s postal point man, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), supports a modified delivery schedule, however, and has included a measure to cut delivery days in multiple postal overhaul bills. Issa last week wrote a letter to Crenshaw thanking him for not including the rider his appropriations bill." (Read more)

UPDATE, June 27: The vote "essentially dooms any further efforts this year to fix the USPS, which reported a $5 billion loss in 2013," Devin Leonard reports for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, adding that it was "a big win" for the National Association of Letter Carriers and its allies. Those include rural interests; the Postal Regulatory Commission has said USPS should more closely examine the likely impact on rural areas before eliminating Saturday service.

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