Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement after the United States Postmaster General made the decision to suspend mail delivery on Saturdays:
“While I question the legality of the Postmaster General’s decision to suspend Saturday mail delivery, this unfortunate scenario could have been wholly prevented if the House had passed the Senate’s bipartisan postal reform bill in the last Congress. Cutting down mail delivery to five days per week will not save the Postal Service from insolvency. This short sighted measure will deal a crippling blow to the millions of Americans and small businesses who rely on the timely and reliable delivery to every community in our nation.
“Given the importance of the Post Office to communities in Nevada and across our nation, such a drastic policy change cannot be enacted without approval from Congress. Instead, the Postmaster General relied on flawed legal guidance to claim that he can circumvent Congress’ authority on the matter. The Postmaster Generals’ actions have damaged his reputation with Congressional leaders and further complicates Congressional efforts to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation in the future.”
“No one disputes that the Postal Service is in urgent need of reform. Passing meaningful postal legislation is one of my top priorities for this Congress and I hope House Republicans will finally join the Senate in bringing a bill up for a vote.”
For nearly three decades, Congress has mandated that the US Postal Service maintain 6 day delivery through a provision in an annual appropriations bill. The USPS is relying on questionable legal guidance to claim that they can administratively reduce mail delivery since the provision remains in effect under the current government funding resolution.
Last year, Senator Reid worked to ensure the passage of a bipartisan postal reform bill (S. 1789) to update the Postal Service’s business model, preserve the postal network, and protect rural post offices. The bill would have sustained over eight million jobs and modernized the USPS so it can keep pace with today’s rapidly changing technology.
During a week of floor debate in April 2012, Senators voted on numerous amendments, including five day delivery, and the legislation passed with the support of 62 Senators. Regrettably, the House failed to consider S. 1789 or any postal reform legislation and Congress adjourned without acting to solve the crisis at the Post Office.