The U.S. Postal Service has backed off a plan to halt Saturday mail delivery, saying that Congress has forced it to continue the service despite massive cost overruns.
In a statement released Wednesday, the USPS Board of Governors said restrictive language included in the latest Continuing Resolution, which keeps the government operating until September in lieu of a budget, prevents it from going ahead with the plan.
In February, the Postal Service announced it would end regular mail delivery on Saturdays beginning Aug. 5 in an effort to stanch the red ink in its budget. It planned to continue package deliveries on Saturday.
The Postal Service board says Congress "has left ... no choice but to delay implementation" of the five-day-a-week plan for mail delivery.
Last year, the USPS lost a record $15 billion, pushing it toward insolvency.
According to The New York Times:
"The agency's financial reports show that mail volume continues to decline as Americans increasingly turn to electronic forms of communication. Total mail volume was 159.9 billion pieces, down 5 percent from 168.3 billion pieces a last year. Operating revenue was $65.2 billion, down from $65.7 billion over the same period."
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi, explains, the dilemma for the Postal Service is that it's not taxpayer funded, but is governed by Congress:
"It competes against UPS and FedEx, but cannot cut costs or make big changes without congressional approval," Noguchi says. "And it's one of the largest employers in the country and the only organization with a requirement to fully pre-fund its retirement plan decades into the future — a financial burden that is forcing it into insolvency."