Some senators expected to block Postal Service's proposal to limit mail delivery

The USPS is expected to lose $7 billion in this fiscal year.
The USPS is expected to lose $7 billion in this fiscal year. (Nati Harnik - Associated Press)
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By Associated Press
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said Wednesday that senators who oversee the U.S. Postal Service's budget will block a proposal by the head of that agency to drop Saturday mail delivery.

Postmaster General John E. Potter has urged the change to five-day mail delivery, saying that the cash-strapped post office won't survive without such a fundamental change to its operations.

The Postal Service is expected to lose $7 billion in this fiscal year, which ends in September. Potter has warned that the agency will lose hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade without Congress approving this and other changes.

But Tester said in a statement that he had persuaded the Senate financial services appropriations subcommittee to oppose five-day mail delivery. He said that eliminating Saturday deliveries would not produce the major savings that Potter forecasts, while it would surely be a hardship on people living in rural areas.

"Our proposal for five-day delivery is an important ingredient in the Postal Service's action plan to survive well into this century," said Gerald McKiernan, a Postal Service spokesman. "We would hope other members of the Senate will resist this proposal."

The agency cannot cut services without Congress's agreement.

To address its deficit, the Postal Service also wants to raise rates, to close or consolidate offices and to avoid annual prepayments for future retiree health care costs.

Staff writer Lisa Rein contributed to this report.

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