This week, Congress passed a continuing resolution that will require the United States Postal Service to deliver some mail on Saturdays.
USPS leaders announced on Feb. 6 that—starting in August—they are eliminating regular mail delivery on Saturdays, but packages will still be delivered that day.
Leaders with the Postal Service are still planning to take that action, which will mean they are maintaining six-day delivery of some items, just not mail.
There has been some confusion about what this week's vote meant, USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said via email.
"Yesterday’s vote was a vote to fund the government the rest of the fiscal year," he said. "It includes [a provision] that talks about maintaining the same level of delivery that was in effect in the 1980s. That is where the different interpretations are coming in."
Members of the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution—which still has to be signed by President Barack Obama—this week, and after it gets the president's signature, USPS' executive leadership will discuss the next step with its board of governors.
Partenheimer said that the "critical issue" is that—even though Postal Service leaders have taken actions to cut $15 billion annually from the operating budget—the USPS is losing $25 million every day under the existing regulatory structure.
The USPS has lost 25 percent of its mail volume in the past five years, and changing the delivery schedule would save about $2 billion a year.
Partenheimer called the move "a common sense step" that has public support.
"Congress must act to restore financial stability to the Postal Service," he also said. "Establishing a new delivery schedule is an important element of a larger strategy to close a $20 billion budget gap by 2016 and to avoid the potential that the Postal Service may eventually become a significant burden to the American taxpayer."
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