The claim by the Postmaster General that the U.S. Postal Service has the right to cut its mail delivery schedule from six-to-five days "rests upon a faulty USPS premise" and there is no legislative authority from Congress allowing the change, the Government Accountability Office said today in a legal opinion requested by Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11).
"The GAO legal opinion clearly rejects the Postal Service's attempt to circumvent the law," Connolly said.
In its letter to Connolly, GAO says that USPS is bound by current law and the current Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government requires "USPS to continue 6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail at not less than the 1983 level."
"This impartial and definitive GAO legal opinion makes it crystal clear that USPS cannot operate outside the legislative authority of Congress and unilaterally implement a change in delivery service that many believe will not only disrupt mail service, but also exacerbate USPS revenue losses and contribute to the decline of this constitutionally-mandated service to all Americans," Connolly said.
"Unfortunately, the Postmaster General continues to stonewall Members of Congress, withholding his legal justifications for eliminating Saturday delivery from Postal customers and the American public," Connolly said.
"Fortunately, the Comptroller General and the dedicated, impartial analysts at GAO do not operate in a similar fashion, and I appreciate their prompt and diligent work in analyzing and issuing today's legal opinion that clearly rejects the Postal Service's attempt to circumvent current law under the Continuing Resolution," the Virginia Congressman said.
"GAO's opinion is clear that "USPS's interpretation of the Continuing Resolution and of the 2012 Appropriations Act parses the statute in a fashion that frustrates both the nature and the purpose of the Continuing Resolution,' and I hope the Postmaster General will cease wasting energy on flouting the will of Congress and the law itself" Connolly said. "It is imperative that the USPS focus on working with Congress to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation that transforms its business model to grow and thrive in the 21st century," Connolly said.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. The head of GAO, the Comptroller General of the United States, is appointed to a 15-year term by the President from a slate of candidates Congress proposes.