Congress Forces Post Office to Keep Saturday Delivery
Congress traditionally has included a provision in legislation to fund the federal government each year that has prevented the Postal Service from reducing delivery service. The Postal Service had asked Congress not to include the provision this time around.
Despite the request, the House of Representatives on Thursday gave final approval to legislation that maintains the provision, sending it to President Barack Obama to sign into law. The Senate approved the measure on Wednesday.
Given all the wailing in DC about fiscal responsibility and the need to make cuts for unnecessary or, at least, sub-optimal programs, allowing the USPS to cut Saturday first class delivery seems like a no-brainer. Now, granted, Congress does not fund the USPS, but there is a) the symbolism of the whole thing and, more importantly, b) the fact that current projections have the USPS having to ask for a serious bit of help from Uncle Sam if it doesn’t get its fiscal house in order pronto:
The Postal Service, an independent agency not funded by taxpayers, has said it could need a taxpayer bailout of more than $47 billion by 2017 if Congress does not give it flexibility to change its business model and provide it relief from huge benefit payments.
Not to mention:
The Postal Service could run out of money by October if Congress does not provide legislative relief, some experts have estimated.
Now, the political dynamics here are not hard to understand: this is a vote that costs the Congress nothing in the short term, and makes any number of constituents happy. Still, if the Congress is unwilling to pull the trigger on something like this (indeed, proactively went out of their way on this issue), it is hardly surprising that they are unwilling to take the political hits from more serious budget reform.