The interpretation by the House GOP could set up a showdown with Senate Democratic leaders, who have argued that the legislative language prohibits the cash-strapped agency from limiting letter delivery to five days a week.
The Postal Service (USPS), which lost nearly $16 billion in 2012, announced in February that it would end Saturday delivery of first-class mail starting in August, a move that it says would save $2 billion annually. Package delivery on Saturdays would continue.
Postal officials have for years pushed to limit Saturday delivery, but had previously insisted they would need congressional approval to do so.
But last month, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the agency would move forward with its modified six-day plan and urged Congress not to try to tie the agency’s hands via legislative directive. In crafting the latest stopgap spending measure, House appropriators kept in place a 30-year-old provision that states, “6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue, at not less than the 1983 level.”
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