|When the U.S. Postal Service said it would halt Saturday deliveries starting this summer, many customers and postal workers complained and even organized protests.
Now Congress is getting into the debate, with the Senate considering a provision that would require the Postal Service to continue six-day-a-week deliveries, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's similar to a provision the House passed and in effect would tell the USPS that it must keep delivering on Saturdays. The Postal Service operates as an independent agency but is subject to congressional oversight.
Congress' message isn't going down smoothly.
For one, the plan to end Saturday delivery was designed to reduce costs by $2 billion and limit losses at the Postal Service, which mounted to $15.9 billion last year. That's rallying several Republicans to the USPS' defense, including Senator Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Representative Darrell Issa (Calif.), The New York Times says.
By telling the Postal Service it must continue Saturday delivery, Congress is "hastening (the service's) demise and probably adding additional financial burdens to U.S. taxpayers," Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said earlier this month, according to TheHill.com.
Currently, no law mandates that the USPS deliver mail six days a week. So Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe earlier made the announcement about ceasing Saturday delivery without congressional approval, notes The Times.
That has reportedly frustrated some lawmakers, who see Donahoe as trying to bypass Congress. Through a spokesman, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., told The Times: "The Postal Service will still have to deliver mail on Saturdays."
While it remains unclear what will happen with the provision, it's increasingly turning into a brawl between Congress and the USPS.
The Postal Service "will continue its planning for the August implementation of the new delivery schedule, while Congress debates," a spokesman said on Friday, according to The Journal.