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Postal Service still in debate over five-day delivery change

Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

Could residents start seeing five day delivery instead of six? According to Senator Claire McCaskill, there are many rural communities and small businesses that depend on Saturday delivery. Senator McCaskill is still waiting to see the proof that cutting the six day would save the USPS money.

It was just a few short months ago when the United States Postal Service announced it was going to a five-day mail and a six-day package delivery service.

According to their reports, it would have saved the USPS approximately $2 billion annually. However, in a recent report by the Government Accountability Department, they did not have the legal authority to cut Saturday mail delivery. In fact, the USPS cannot operate outside the legislative authority of Congress.

“We are aware of the GAO report,” said Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. “It clearly highlights the fact we need a long term solution to the challenges faced by the USPS – much like bipartisan Postal Reform Bill that the Senate passed last year, but which the house refused to even allow to come up for a vote.”

In an effort to better understand the challenges the USPS faces and the angle they have chosen to take, Senator McCaskill have repeatedly called for them to provide additional information to determine if a five-day delivery would even result in savings.

“We will continue to seek a bipartisan compromise and push for the U.S. House of Representatives to finally act in the best interest of rural America, where many families and businesses count on six-day delivery,” said Senator McCaskill.

However, according to Dave Partenheimer, media relations for USPS, their executive leadership team will begin discussion with the USPS Board of Governors to determine their next steps, now that the delivery schedule language was included in the continuing resolution is law.

“The critical issue is the Postal service is losing $25 million per day under its existing regulatory structure, despite taking actions within it’s control to remove $15 billion annually from its operating expenses,” explained Partenheimer. “The Postal Service has experienced a 25 percent loss of total mail volume over the past five years. Changing it’s delivery schedule would save approximately $2 billion per year, has broad support from the American public and is a responsible, common sense step.”

Market research conducted by the Postal Service and independent research by major news organizations indicate nearly seven out of ten Americans (70 percent) supported the switch to five-day service as a way for the Postal Services to reduce cost in its effort to return the organization to financial stability. Support for this approach will likely be even higher since the Postal Service plans to maintain six-day package delivery.

In a final note Partenheimer stated that Congress must act to restore financial stability to the Postal Service and to avoid the potential the Postal Service may eventually become a significant burden to the American Taxpayer.

But how would this pose a burden on the American Taxpayers? According to Partenheimer, the Postal Service does not use tax dollars for their operations.

“We are funded by the sale of our postage, products and services. However, before we became an independent agency of the government we were funded by tax dollars,” explains Partenheimer. “If we reach a point where we do not have enough money to operate, the government would have to fund the Postal Service to keep mail operations from ceasing. That is something we don’t want and is totally avoidable if the Postal Service is allowed to fully implement its plan for long-term financial stability.”

However, because the USPS receives an appropriation for approximately one percent of its operations, lawmakers have authority over the decisions the USPS makes. This money includes reimbursement for mail services for the blind and for election ballots for overseas military personnel.

“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO in a previous interview. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. However, recent strong growth in package delivery (14 percent volume increase since 2010) and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days per week.

“Our customers see strong value in the national delivery platform we provided and maintain a six-day delivery schedule for packages is an important part of that platform, “said Donahoe. “ As consumers increasingly use and rely on delivery services – especially due to the rise of e-commerce – we can play an increasingly vital role as a delivery provider of choice, and as a driver of growth opportunities for America’s businesses.”

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