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The Senate Can't Part With Saturday Mail Delivery

The Senate Can't Part With Saturday Mail Delivery
Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Something puzzling happened last week, when a U.S. Senate committee passed a postal reform bill allowing the U.S. Postal Service to move to five-day delivery if mail volume falls below 140 billion pieces a year, which would amount to a 10 percent decline over 2012.

The bill that emerged on Thursday, however, has an amendment forbidding the USPS from moving to five-day delivery until the fourth quarter of 2017. That’s happens to be the precise time when the USPS predicts volume will actually tumble to 140 billion level. In other words, defenders of Saturday delivery concede that mail volume is likely to dramatically diminish—they’re just worried it could happen even sooner. They are trying to throw a further road block in front of the USPS, even though the postal service insists that carrying letters six days a week is no longer cost-effective.