The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday added a rider to a government funding measure mandating that the U.S. Postal Service continue to provide Saturday delivery service. Latham amendment added the six-day mail delivery mandate to the House version of the FY 2015 Financial Services and General Government bill. The amendment passed by an overwhelming voice vote.
Numerous members of the House Appropriations Committee from both parties spoke in support of the Serrano-Latham amendment prior to the vote. The action represented a significant setback to those who favor moving the nation’s mail delivery to a five-day schedule, including House postal oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, and the White House.
When the Financial Services and General Government legislation was introduced last week, it did not contain the longstanding rider mandating the Postal Service to deliver six days a week. The language had been included in the annual appropriations bill since 1983. But a significant lobbying effort by Saturday delivery proponents in support of an amendment by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), the ranking member on the subcommittee, and Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), succeeded in restoring the language to the bill.
Arguments in support of the Serrano-Latham amendment included:
— The adverse impact of five-day delivery of Social Security checks and pharmaceuticals upon senior citizens and others;
— The loss of tens of thousands of Postal Service jobs, including those held by veterans, triggered by five-day delivery;
— The negative impact on businesses through the delayed receipt of mailed payments; and
— The lack of any savings (because USPS is “off-budget”) that precluded any added funding to other entities in the spending measure.
In the Senate, the six-day language also was included on Tuesday in the Senate’s proposed version of the same funding bill.
These House and Senate developments create a high likelihood that the Congressional mandate on six-day mail delivery will continue into 2015, particularly as action on comprehensive postal reform in both chambers remains stalled.