March 26, 2013
Citing a legal opinion by the Government Accountability Office, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday called on Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to withdraw his plan to stop Saturday mail delivery.
Sanders said the opinion by the non-partisan GAO unambiguously declared that the Postal Service has no legal authority to end Saturday mail without the approval of Congress. In fact, Congress just last week passed a bill that restated the requirement for the Postal Service to maintain Saturday mail delivery.
Sanders called on the postmaster general to formally withdraw his plan to eliminate Saturday mail beginning on Aug. 1. “I am urging you to make it clear to the American people that the USPS will continue Saturday mail delivery in adherence with the law,” Sanders said in a letter.
Sanders stressed that the major reason for the Postal Service’s financial woes is a congressional mandate to pre-fund 75 years of future retiree health benefits over a 10-year period. “No other government agency, no other corporation in America is burdened with this mandate,” Sanders said. “This pre-funding mandate is responsible for about 80 percent of the Postal Service’s financial losses since 2007.”
Before this pre-funding mandate was signed into law by President George W. Bush, the Postal Service was making a profit. In fact, from 2003 through 2006, the Postal Service made a combined profit of more than $9 billion. “I look forward to working with you to end this onerous mandate once and for all which would keep the Postal Service healthy and thriving for years to come,” Sanders told the postmaster general.
Sanders also said he looks forward to working with Donahoe to lift legal restrictions that now keep the Postal Service from offering new and innovative products and services. “It is clear to me and to many others that there are significant opportunities for increased revenue for the USPS, if given the opportunity to aggressively compete in the marketplace,” Sanders said.
To read the letter, click here.