The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Congress Ends the End of Saturday Delivery

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


A little-known but costly rider to the fiscal year 2013 continuing resolution has forced the U.S. Postal Service to withdraw its proposal to end Saturday delivery.  This means that the USPS will continue to lose $2 billion annually that the agency sought to save by only delivering packages, which is one of the only profit-making activities of the USPS, on Saturdays. House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said, "This reversal significantly undercuts the credibility of postal officials who have told Congress that they were prepared to defy political pressure and make difficult but necessary cuts."  Postal unions were gleeful. As CAGW Director of Research Sean Kennedy noted in a February 15 blog post, the Government Accountability Office included restructuring of the Postal Service in its 2013 "High Risk" report.  Sean wrote that "The financial travails of the USPS are well-documented.  After recording losses of $8.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2010, $5.1 billion in FY 2011, and $15.6 billion in FY 2012, the USPS teeters on the brink of financial ruin.  As with the rest of the nation’s fiscal problems, Congress is ignoring the problem.  Fortunately, the American people seem to understand that the USPS should be allowed to adjust its business model as a way to save costs.  According to a 2012 New York Times/CBS poll, 7 in 10 Americans support the USPS’s decision to cancel Saturday delivery 'as a way to help the post office deal with billions of dollars in debt.'" The rejection of the end of Saturday delivery is a prime example of how parochial politics get in the way of practical policy.  Indeed, Congress has spent more time naming post offices than considering postal reform. According to a January 8, 2013 Washington Post "Federal Eye" blog post, a January 7 report "in the Courier Express and Postal Observer, which took data from 1973 to 2012 compiled by Noah Veltman, ... found a huge increase in the number of laws to name post offices and ... their relative share of the legislation passed by recent congresses.  The postal blog says that more than 15 percent of all bills passed and signed into law in the last five congresses named a post office. The practice spiked after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and has continued during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." If post offices start closing, Congress would have to start legislating.

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