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FILE -- A worker sorts through mail at a post office New York, March 23, 2012. Proposals for the Postal Service to expand beyond mail have been met with resistance from rivals in the delivery business.

RICHARD PERRY, New York Times

Senate votes to continue Saturday mail service

  • April 25, 2012 - 6:36 PM

Saturday postal delivery could continue for at least two years and the closing of post offices in smaller communities may not happen as quickly as advertised under a Senate plan.

The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation, 62 to 37, that would slow the U.S. Postal Service's effort to make such changes. The plan still has to navigate a difficult road in the GOP-dominated House. One GOP proposal would set up a commission to devise a plan to consolidate and perhaps close certain post offices. The measure would give postal officials the option of ending Saturday service within six months of the bill's enactment.

Many in both chambers still see ending Saturday delivery as a necessary cost-cutting move. "It is clear the Postal Service must make drastic changes," argued Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

The Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, estimates that the Postal Service has lost $25 billion since 2006. Going to five-day-a-week delivery would save about $3.1 billion a year.

The Senate plan -- estimated to save $19 billion by 2016 -- would bar the Postal Service from ending Saturday delivery for at least two years. Under the plan, cutting Saturday service would be a last option and it would be easier for the Postal Service to end door-to-door service in some instances. It would have two years to implement cost-saving changes, notably a workforce reduction of about 18 percent, or 100,000 jobs.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said: "No matter how far we have come with technology in the digital age, there are some things that simply cannot be sent by e-mail."

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