Rallies Supporting Saturday Mail Delivery Held Nationwide, But Are They Pointless?

Last week, Congress passed a budget bill that keeps the federal government going until the end of the federal budget year on September 30, and averts the scary and inconvenient consequences of a government shutdown. That’s good. There’s an interesting provision, though: like past budget bills, it specifically says that the U.S. Postal service can’t cut back on mail delivery, which it had planned to do in August. Oops. But while groups of letter carriers and supporters held rallies nationwide yesterday, has the crisis been averted? Yes. No. We’re not really sure.

The exact line from the budget bill is: “That 6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level.” The Government Accountability Office issued a legal opinion stating that the USPS isn’t able to shut down Saturday delivery of first-class mail. (PDF link)

Yesterday, Delivering for America rallies nationwide drew modest crowds. Carriers are concerned for obvious reasons: the cost savings that come from cutting back to five days a week of mail delivery will come in the form of “laying off or cutting the hours of mail carriers.”

One logical advocate of more mail delivery has stepped up: Hallmark, the greeting card company, has registered an employee as a lobbyist and also employs outside lobbying firms to advocate for the rights of Americans to not have to wait as long to receive their cards.

Different views on Saturday mail delivery [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]