Postal Service backs down on ending Saturday mail

Wednesday - 4/10/2013, 2:04pm EDT

The U.S. Postal Service has reversed its decision to end Saturday mail delivery service, saying Congress gave it no choice.

The USPS Board of Governors said it was disappointed but would "follow the law...and delay implementation of its new delivery schedule."

The 2013 appropriations bill passed by Congress last month contained a de facto ban on five-day mail delivery.

The board directed the agency to hold off on changes to its delivery schedule "until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule."

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), immediately released a statement opposing the decision.

"I am disappointed that the Postal Service has backed away from plans to implement a modified Saturday delivery schedule that polling indicates the American people understand and support," Issa said. "This reversal significantly undercuts the credibility of Postal officials who have told Congress that they were prepared defy political pressure and make difficult but necessary cuts."

USPS estimated it could save $2 billion a year if it cut letter delivery on Saturdays. Delivery of packages would not have been affected.

Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate opposed the five-day delivery plan, calling it "not responsible."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, renewed his call for comprehensive postal reform legislation. Last year, the Senate approved a sweeping postal reform package, but it never saw a vote in the House.

"While there may be differences of opinion about how best to solve the Postal Service's financial problems, we should all embrace the goal of enacting legislation that leaves the Postal Service stronger than it is today and better able to navigate through the difficult times it likely has ahead of it," he said in a statement.

(Federal News Radio's Jack Moore contributed to this report)

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