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U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran Blast Post Office Decision to Suspend Saturday Service

Connolly writes letter to Postmaster General, asking for legal justification; cites study that says reducing mail volume will lead to revenue loss of $5.2 billion in first year.

Stopping the mail on Saturdays? Not so fast, say two members of the Northern Virginia congressional delegation.

Northern Virginia's U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-8th) and U.S. Rep Gerald Connolly (D-11th) expressed concern Wednesday afternoon about the U.S. Postal Service's announcement that it plans to suspend delivery of first-class mail service on Saturdays beginning in August. The USPS released a fact sheet Wednesday.

“I have great concerns about eliminating Saturday mail delivery," Moran wrote in an email to Patch. "The Postal Service is grappling with major forces outside of its control: an economy increasingly relying on email and the Internet for communication, and a Congress that refuses to address the redundant pension pre-funding requirement."

"Both forces are driving a well functioning system into the red — only one can be fixed in the short run," said Moran, who represents Alexandria, Arlington and parts of Fairfax County. "Congress can and should drop the pre-funding requirement so that we can forestall drastic measures for as long as possible, giving the Postal Service more time to adapt to the changing economy.”

Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-11th) is taking action. Connolly, who represents Fairfax City and parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, said that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe "lacks the constitutional and statutory authority to unilaterally implement his announced plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery to tens of millions of American homes and businesses."

In a sternly worded letter to Donahoe, sent hours after the postmaster general announced that the U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday mail delivery starting in August, Connolly requested that USPS provide legal justification and documentation for the proposed action. The Virginia congressman made the same request to Attorney General Eric Holder and Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway.

“Logic dictates that when USPS and the Administration repeatedly request that Congress explicitly provide USPS the authority to reduce mail service from six days to five days, it is clear acknowledgement that, absent Congressional action, USPS lacks the statutory authority to do so,” Connolly said in his letter. 

The letter includes the signature of Republican Congressman Sam Graves.

For nearly three decades, Congress has repeatedly passed legislation prohibiting USPS from administratively transitioning to a five-day delivery mail schedule.

Connolly said that six-day mail delivery “remains a critical strength and competitive advantage for USPS that will enable it to grow business and bolster revenue in the long run.”  He warned that accelerating a decline in mail volume could result in additional revenue losses and wipe out any operational cost savings, citing a 2012 confidential study commissioned by USPS showing that a 7.7 percent reduction in mail volume would lead to a revenue loss of $5.2 billion in the first year alone. 

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