If you’ve been following the news today, you have probably heard that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced that he plans to permanently end Saturday delivery of the mail in August of this year.  His “slash-and-shrink” plan is ill-informed and would have a profoundly negative effect on the millions of American businesses and households that rely on the mail six days a week.

Think about it: If Saturday delivery is cut, what would happen to the small businesses, the rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and the other residents who depend on the Postal Service for commerce and regular communication? The answer is that they’ll be forced to turn to more costly delivery companies who don’t have the Postal Service’s strong last-mile network. Not only will this harm customers, it will also be counterproductive. When customers turn to other delivery options, USPS loses that revenue; this will cause further deterioration of our country’s only universal communication network.

It’s not a smart plan, but fortunately it doesn’t have to be the only plan.  Congress still requires six-day delivery by law, and Mr. Donahoe doesn’t have the power to change that unless the people will it.  If you believe the Postal Service is an important link connecting all facets of American society and want to ensure Congress’ continue support of six-day delivery, take a few minutes of your time today to share that view with your representative or senators. Don’t delay – reach out today before it’s too late.

We aren’t the only ones who think this move by the Postal Service is counterproductive and legally suspect.  Check out a few members of Congress who are talking about it at the links below and contact your member if he or she is not on the list!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – “Cutting down mail delivery to five days per week will not save the Postal Service from insolvency. This short sighted measure will deal a crippling blow to the millions of Americans and small businesses who rely on the timely and reliable delivery to every community in our nation. Given the importance of the Post Office to communities in Nevada and across our nation, such a drastic policy change cannot be enacted without approval from Congress.  Instead, the Postmaster General relied on flawed legal guidance to claim that he can circumvent Congress’ authority on the matter. The Postmaster Generals’ actions have damaged his reputation with Congressional leaders and further complicates Congressional efforts to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation in the future.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings – “The Postal Service’s declining mail volume poses a significant challenge, and the enactment of comprehensive postal reform legislation must be an urgent priority for the current Congress.  However, the issue of service delivery frequency should be addressed in that legislation rather than through arbitrary action by the Postal Service.”

Senator Susan Collins – “There is no doubt that the U.S. Postal Service is in a financial crisis.  It has been hit with falling mail volume, the recession, and the loss of customers to digital technology such as e-mail and online bill paying that has replaced traditional mail.  Cutting service should, however, be the last resort, not the Postal Service’s first choice.  The Postal Service’s decision to eliminate Saturday delivery is inconsistent with current law and threatens to further jeopardize its customer base.”

Senator Mark Pryor – “While I agree the Postal Service needs to cut costs, their plan to end Saturday delivery cannot move forward without Congressional approval.”

Congressman Jose Serrano – “The U.S. Postal Service has many budgetary issues, and needs Congress to complete a reform package, but they are acting outside of their legal authority if they suspend Saturday delivery.”

Senator Mark Begich – “This decision to end Saturday delivery will undoubtedly slow overall delivery time. The Postal Service should have allowed Congress to address this issue through the legislative process.”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro – “Today’s announcement is bad news both for the Postal Service’s employees and people across the country. I have deep concerns that cutting Saturday delivery will lead to layoffs and facility closings at a time when our economy can least afford it.”

Senator Bernie Sanders – “The postmaster general cannot save the Postal Service by ending one of its major competitive advantages.  Cutting six-day delivery is not a viable plan for the future.  It will lead to a death spiral that will harm rural America while doing very little to improve the financial condition of the Postal Service.”

Congressman Dave Loebsack – “Once again, inaction by Congress has real life consequences for Iowans.  By requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund retirement health benefits to the tune of over $50 billion over 10 years, which no other agency or business has to do, Congress is tying their hands. The USPS would not be in the dire situation it is today if it had not been required to pre-pay these funds.” [No link available]

Congresswoman Janice Hahn – “I am deeply troubled by the U.S. Postal Service’s decision to stop delivering letters and other mail on Saturdays. There are a lot of people in my community who depend on six-day delivery for important time-sensitive mail. I am particularly disturbed by what effects this decision might have on our seniors. While I understand the current budgetary challenges of this decision, these cuts cannot be made at the expense of our most vulnerable.”

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici – “The Postal Regulatory Commission has shown that USPS has overestimated savings from ending Saturday delivery, but even when considering the overestimates, these savings are negligible in the broader scope of reforms necessary to address the Postal Service’s core financial problems. Current law requires that the USPS pre-fund the health care benefits of its retirees, making it the only agency required to do so. Congress must restructure the Postal Service’s pension pre-payment obligations and allow it to restructure its business model so that its product offerings are responsive to the 21st century marketplace.”

Congressman Rush Holt – “For more than 200 years, the U.S. Postal Service has done far more than sell stamps and deliver letters.  It has built communities, united citizens, and bound together our vast and diverse country. I am deeply concerned that, if the Postal Service were to follow through on this plan to slash services in the pursuit of short-term financial gain, it would sacrifice its most crucial long-term competitive edge:  its renowned and respected status as a core American institution.”

Congressman Tim Bishop – “My constituents have spoken clearly that ending Saturday delivery would be more than an inconvenience, it could potentially be dangerous. I urge the Postal Service in the strongest terms to think of their customers, including small businesses, the elderly and disabled, rural communities and others who depend on Saturday delivery.”

Congressman Sam Graves – “I do not support the United States Postal Service plan to end Saturday delivery. The USPS does need reform, however, reducing core services is not a long-term plan. I worry that reducing services will lead to other reductions like closing rural post offices.”

Senator Tim Johnson – “I have long said the elimination of Saturday mail delivery should be a last resort option, and I am disappointed with the Postal Service’s decision to end Saturday delivery.”

Congresswoman Kristi Noem – “I strongly believe that the Postal Service needs to focus on making additional internal and structural reforms before it cuts services. I understand that serious changes need to take place to make the USPS financially viable, but I do not support eliminating Saturday delivery.”

Congresswoman Susan Davis – “There is also a question of the legality of USPS’s move. Congress enacted legislation directing the USPS to maintain Saturday delivery and the USPS should go through Congress if it wants to alter delivery.  The fact that a bi-partisan majority of my colleagues and I cosponsored legislation to maintain Saturday delivery in the last Congress says that representatives and the people we represent want their voices heard on this issue.” [no link available]

Congressman Brian Higgins – “For over a year now we have witnessed the Postmaster General’s unilateral, decide now, and justify later approach … All of this casts serious doubt that the current leadership is up to the task of leading the Postal Service through these challenging times and that’s why last June I sent a letter to the Board of Governors calling on them to take action to remove and replace the Postmaster General.”

Congressman Gerry Connolly – “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.”

Congressman Rob Andrews – “U.S. Postal Service shouldn’t cut Sat. delivery. We should cut the requirement that they pre-fund pensions for 75yrs.”

Congressman David Cicilline – “Make no mistake – I disagree with the decision made by the USPS and will keep fighting to ensure that the Postal Service continues to meet the needs of Rhode Islanders.”

Congressman Matt Cartwright – “I am disappointed in today’s announcement by Postmaster Patrick Donahoe, regarding the loss of Saturday delivery.  The loss of Saturday delivery will be particularly harmful to small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication. Certainly the speed of the internet has put pressure on the Postal Service.  But the answer to the problem of not being fast enough is not to get slower.”

Congressman Keith Ellison – “Cutting services to 5 days due to inaction in Congress will hurt the working Americans who make the @USPS run”

Congressman Stephen Lynch – “I am deeply concerned by the United State Postal Service’s decision to transition to five day delivery without congressional consent.  The elimination of Saturday mail delivery will have a negative impact on thousands of businesses across the nation that are operating on a six day schedule.  This could be a damaging policy change in a fragile economy.”

 Senator Frank Lautenberg – “It is unfortunate that the U.S. Postal Service has made a unilateral decision to move to five-day delivery in a matter of months when serious questions remain as to whether piecemeal efforts like this one will do anything to secure the Postal Service’s long-term viability.  Furthermore, this move circumvents the clear will of Congress as expressed in the law over three decades.”

Senator Roy Blunt – “I’m not sure how they could do that without congressional approval.” 

Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree – “While we understand that there are legitimate disagreements among members of Congress as to the future direction of the Postal Service, there is widespread agreement that Saturday mail delivery must continue. During the last session of Congress, we joined more than 200 of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in cosponsoring H.RES. 137, which expressed that the USPS should take ‘all appropriate measures’ to ensure continuation of six-day delivery.”

Congressman Ed Markey – “Eliminating Saturday mail delivery will negatively affect many of the hardworking people of the U.S. Postal Service who perform such a vital job for our country. It also could harm businesses that depend on Saturday delivery and customers who can’t wait through the weekend to receive the government benefits they rely on.” 

Congressman Jim Moran – “I have great concerns about eliminating Saturday mail delivery. 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.”

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos – “Today’s announcement from the Postal Service indicating an end to Saturday mail service is a blow to communities across our region of Illinois.  Time and again, I’ve heard from small business owners, seniors, and others in both small towns and big cities in my district that Saturday mail service is crucially important to them.”

Senator Jeff Merkley – “Stopping Saturday mail would be a mistake. It would cost jobs, cut services and hurt Oregon’s vote by mail system.”

Senator Joe Manchin – “Although the Postal Service must cut back on spending and get its fiscal house in order, cutting the muscle instead of the fat from its budget will not benefit the agency and will harm our communities in West Virginia and across our country.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng – “The Postal Service’s decision to eliminate Saturday delivery is very disappointing. I strongly oppose it. We all understand the pressure that the Postal Service is under to cut costs. It continues to hemorrhage millions of dollars. But this plan would not return the Postal Service to fiscal solvency, and it would create hardships for millions of Americans, including small businesses, that depend on Saturday service. It is also disturbing that the plan attempts to circumvent Congress’ authority on the matter.”

Congressman Bill Owens – “I strongly disagree with the Postal Service’s outrageous decision to end Saturday delivery. It’s well known that the Postal Service has a budget problem, but leadership within the organization has failed in its duty to grow and seek out new opportunities to raise revenue, instead turning to rural areas for service cuts that do little to solve the problem.  This is an irresponsible approach to management and one that I oppose.”

Senator Al Franken – “I’m extremely disappointed that the Postal Service will be discontinuing Saturday delivery. Many Minnesotans rely on the mail to get their essentials like newspapers and paychecks, and for many parts of the state – especially rural communities – the U.S. Postal Service provides the only way to get something delivered.”

Congressman Tim Walz – “I am disappointed in today’s announcement by the Postal Service. Ending six day delivery will be particularly harmful to those in rural America who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication.”

Senator Jon Tester – “This is an irresponsible change proposed by Postal Service executives that refuse to share in the sacrifice they are demanding of everyday Montanans. Six-day mail delivery lets folks run their businesses and get everyday necessities, and this decision will further slow down mail delivery in Montana and hurt Montana businesses.”

Congressman Bruce Braley“I am strongly opposed to the United States Postal Service moving to 5-day delivery. For years, Iowans have relied on the post office for quick and dependable mail service.  Unfortunately, today’s decision will lead to slower mail service which will hurt Iowa businesses and Iowa residents.  Just last week, I signed onto a House resolution urging the Postal Service to maintain a 6-day delivery, and I will continue to fight for more reliable mail service for all Iowans.”

Senator Tom Harkin – “I agree that we must have a cost effective and efficient postal system, but I am disappointed with the USPS’s unilateral decision to end Saturday mail delivery.  This decision will lead to diminished service and it will be particularly harmful to rural customers, businesses, and seniors in Iowa and around the country.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer – “The Postal Service’s announcement that it will end Saturday delivery of mail underscores the need for the House to get serious about comprehensive reform that puts the U.S. Postal Service on a long-term, fiscally sustainable path. If we want to prevent the Postal Service from taking further action that will affect the American people and our businesses, Congress must act now.”

Senator Tom Carper – “I am disappointed by the Postal Service’s announcement today. 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.”

Senator Claire McCaskill – “We won a hard-fought battle in the Senate last year with strongly bipartisan postal reform that would have put the Postal Service on the path to sound financial footing, protected rural post offices, and provided strict criteria for the Postal Service to meet before eliminating six-day delivery. Unfortunately, instead of passing the bill, the Republicans in the U.S. House abandoned rural America and allowed the legislation to die. And this is the result of their inaction—an unnecessary loss for business, rural families and the principle of compromise.”

Congressman Nick Rahall – “Whatever basis the Postal Service is claiming to discontinue Saturday mail delivery, it runs counter to the spirit and letter of the law, and I intend to press hard to ensure that the Postal Service abides by the law. The Postal Service needs to look at other ways to balance its books rather than cutting off rural customers and undermining its public service obligations. I share the frustration of many West Virginians who believe that the Postal Service is intent upon achieving cost savings through service reductions at rural postal facilities.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter – “The US Postal Service is a vital resource for communities throughout our state and our country. Eliminating Saturday mail-delivery does not adequately address the issues facing the United States Postal Service. This is the wrong approach because the Postal Service will lose vital business and consumers will be hurt.”

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa – “I have long opposed reducing mail delivery days because of the hardship it will place on the American people. While I am pleased that the Postal Service has agreed to continue delivering packages on Saturdays — allowing for the delivery of medications to the growing number of people who receive their prescriptions through the mail, for example — I remain concerned for those who rely on Saturday delivery for critical matters like paychecks and Social Security checks.”

Congresswoman Karen Bass – “As the proud daughter of a letter carrier, it’s disappointing that USPS has been forced to stop Saturday delivery service. The financial burdens requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund pension benefits are unreasonably high and need reform. Congress must work to enact comprehensive reform that provides the tools and resources the Postal Service needs to survive and innovate in the 21st Century.”

Congressman Cedric Richmond – “I am extremely disappointed to learn that our U.S. Postal Service has decided to reduce their delivery services to the American people. It’s appalling that Congress left our Postal Service believing this was the only solution to alleviate their financial challenges. As an avid proponent of postal reform, I urge my colleagues in Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of six-day mail, and that includes legislative reform that strengthens, not weakens, our Postal Service.”

Congresswoman Terri Sewell – “I am disappointed that the United States Postal Service had to make the decision to stop delivering mail on Saturday beginning in August. While I understand that the USPS was forced to make tough budgetary decisions in order to remain financially solvent, this decision will impact thousands of constituents in my district, including many rural Alabamians and seniors. And as a result of this new mail delivery schedule, numerous postal workers could face potential layoffs.”

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan – “Post offices are a staple of our rural communities and six-day service is a necessary service for New Mexicans to communicate, pay bills, and receive important documents.  The U.S. Postal Service’s financial challenges have been no secret, yet House Republicans for too long have failed to take action on meaningful reform that protects six-day delivery and places the Postal Service on firmer financial footing. 

Congressman Bill Foster – “Congress has repeatedly shown bipartisan opposition to attempts to end Saturday mail service.  Millions of small businesses, seniors and others rely on Saturday service and it should not be first on the chopping block to solve the financial problems the USPS faces.” 

In addition, 26 of the 27 members of the Congressional Delegation from New York signed a letter to Postmaster General Donahoe questioning his decision to end Saturday Delivery:

“We write to express our opposition to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) plan to terminate six-day mail delivery. While we understand the financial difficulties facing the USPS, we expect you to adhere to the intent of Congress, avoid weakening the Postal Service’s business model, and allow Congress to work on comprehensive Postal reform. Your plan will have negative and far-reaching consequences for postal employees, companies and consumers who need to be able to rely on six-day delivery being there when it’s needed.”

On February 15, a group of 24 senators sent a letter to the postmaster general expressing their collective concerns about his decision to unilaterally end Saturday delivery:

“…we believe a piecemeal strategy that focuses on cutting services and forgoes a critical competitive advantage is not the solution. Instead, we need a comprehensive postal reform bill that allows the Postal Service to modernize while protecting its crucial obligations and services.”