|Updated: 2/06 1:38 pm
||Published: 2/06 8:50 am
The U.S. Postal Service plans to announce Wednesday that it will end Saturday mail delivery, in one of the most significant steps taken to date to cut costs at the struggling agency.
A source familiar with the decision confirmed the plan to Fox News. It's unclear, though, how the service can eliminate Saturday mail delivery without congressional approval.
For the past 30 years, Congress -- which oversees the otherwise independent agency -- has included a provision insisting on Saturday delivery. That provision still stands, leaving some on the Hill bewildered about the announcement Wednesday.
Under the proposal, the Postal Service will continue to deliver packages six days a week. The plan, which is aimed at saving about $2 billion, would start to take effect in August.
The agency clearly thinks it has a majority of the American public on its side regarding the change.
Under the new plan, mail would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.
Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages -- and it repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, appealed to Congress to approve the move.
Source: Fox News
Meanwhile, Arkansas's U.S. Senator Mark Pryor released the following statement regarding the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to end Saturday mail delivery:
Last year, the Senate passed—and I supported—a bipartisan postal reform bill to put the U.S. Postal Service back on the road to financial stability. Unfortunately, the House refused to bring our bill to the floor, or offer a bill of their own. Due to the House’s inaction, the Postal Service is now facing crippling deficits.
While I agree the Postal Service needs to cut costs, their plan to end Saturday delivery cannot move forward without Congressional approval. They need to consider alternative measures, such as capping the salaries of their top executives or eliminating bonuses, before making changes that would hurt rural communities who depend on the Postal Service for commerce, news, and necessary goods. That being said, I hope the House will work with the Senate to pass a common-sense postal reform bill that will keep the USPS viable.
U.S. Senator John Boozman also released a statement:
"We need to provide the postal service with greater flexibility to continue serving its customers. That’s why I supported Senate-passed legislation last year that gives good guidance to getting the USPS back on its feet and offering options for reform without cutting practical service. While I am disappointed the postal service had to resort to changing its delivery service, the financial strain of losing nearly $16 billion last year should not come at the expense of the needs of Arkansans. We will work to limit the ramifications this decision will have on businesses and families who rely on the postal service.”