Today, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper released the following statement reacting to the Postmaster General's announcement that the U.S. Postal Service plans to reduce some mail delivery to 5 days a week:
"I am disappointed by the Postal Service's announcement today regarding its plans to transition to a five-day mail delivery schedule in August. For nearly three decades, it has been the clear intent of Congress that the Postal Service provide most communities with six days of mail delivery. That said, I have long argued that Congress should reduce the number of service mandates it places on the Postal Service so that the Postmaster General and his team can more easily adjust operations to reflect the changing demand for the products and services they offer. I have even co-authored bipartisan legislation, which the Senate approved last year, that would have allowed the Postal Service to eliminate Saturday delivery within two years of enactment provided that the new delivery schedule was truly necessary to help the Postal Service survive. That legislation also would have helped the Postal Service cut costs elsewhere and generate new revenue in an effort to preserve Saturday delivery for as long as possible. While I welcome the Postal Service's intention to preserve Saturday package delivery under the proposal announced today, I would much prefer that any effort to move to a five-day mail delivery schedule occur in an orderly manner similar to the process the Senate approved last year.
"Despite my disappointment, it's hard to condemn the Postmaster General for moving aggressively to do what he believes he can and must do to keep the lights on at the Postal Service, which may be only months away from insolvency. The financial challenges that have been building at the Postal Service for years -- attributable in large part to a reduced demand for hard-copy mail -- are eminently solvable, yet Congress has failed at every turn to come to consensus around a set of effective reforms.
"At the end of last year, I participated in bipartisan, bicameral negotiations that I hoped would lead to significant financial and operational reforms at the Postal Service. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and were unable to produce a legislative compromise that we could present to our colleagues before the 112th Congress adjourned. Now that the 113th Congress is officially underway, I have made it one of my top priorities during my first weeks as chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to pick up last year's postal reform negotiations where they left off so that my colleagues and I can reach agreement on a meaningful bill as soon as possible. Piecemeal efforts like the one the Postal Service announced today will not be enough to solve the Postal Service's financial challenges for the long haul."