Today Senator Begich expressed disappointment with the U.S. Postal Service's announcement that it will circumvent Congress and the legislative process to stop delivering all Saturday mail, except for packages.
"This is bad news for Alaskans and small business owners who rely on timely delivery to rural areas," Sen. Begich said. "This decision to end Saturday delivery will undoubtedly slow overall delivery time. The Postal Service should have allowed Congress to address this issue through the legislative process."
Many of the Postal Service's customers are seniors and small businesses owners who rely on the Postal Service to deliver invoices, financial statements and Social Security checks.
Last year the Senate passed a postal reform bill that would have reduced the Postal Service's financial obligations, as well as protected services and post offices in Alaska. Since 2006 the Postal Service has faced an onerous requirement to pre-fund retiree health benefits, a situation which the Senate bill would have rectified. The Senate bill would have also prevented the Postal Service from eliminating Saturday delivery for two years while it pursued other sources of revenue. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives failed to pass this bill, so it never became law.
"We wouldn't be in this situation if the House had done its job and passed a bill," Sen. Begich said. "I will continue working to protect postal services and post offices for Alaskans. While today's announcement doesn't affect Bypass Mail, we need to pass a comprehensive bill that protects that program and our rural post offices over the long term."
Sen. Begich is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over postal reform legislation.