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Postal Service announces unilateral plan to end Saturday mail delivery

Wednesday - 2/6/2013, 2:50pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Postal Service isn't waiting any longer for permission from Congress to quit delivering mail on Saturdays. It says it's going ahead with plans to start five-day-a-week delivery in August.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe (DAHN'-uh-hoo) says the agency's financial condition is urgent, and the change will save about $2 billion a year.

Under the plan, letters would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday. Packages would continue to be delivered on Saturdays.

Mail would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays, and post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open.

The Postal Service has been advocating a shift to five-day delivery for several years, but Congress hasn't approved it.

Congress included a ban on five-day delivery in its appropriations bill. But because the federal government is now operating under a temporary spending measure, rather than an appropriations bill, Donahoe says the agency believes it can make the change itself.

He says the agency is asking Congress not to reimpose the ban when the spending measure expires on March 27.

%@AP Links

182-a-12-(Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe (DAHN'-uh-hoo), at news conference)-"repay the debt"-Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the postal service has some serious financial hurdles to overcome. (6 Feb 2013)

<> 00:12 "repay the debt"

181-a-13-(Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe (DAHN'-uh-hoo), at news conference)-"boxes on Saturday"-Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says most existing Saturday postal services will continue. (6 Feb 2013)

<> 00:13 "boxes on Saturday"

184-a-12-(Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe (DAHN'-uh-hoo), at news conference)-"our new plan"-Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says 70 percent of the public has consistently indicated support for five-day delivery of both mail and packages, so cutting only mail delivery should have even stronger support. (6 Feb 2013)

<> 00:12 "our new plan"

183-a-11-(Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe (DAHN'-uh-hoo), at news conference)-"and financial stability"-Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says mail delivery cutbacks will be a big part of necessary cost saving for the postal service. (6 Feb 2013)

<> 00:11 "and financial stability"

180-a-11-(Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe (DAHN'-uh-hoo), at news conference)-"of mail delivery"-Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the planned mail delivery cuts mean the postal service will deliver only packages on Saturdays starting this summer. (6 Feb 2013)

<> 00:11 "of mail delivery"

APPHOTO DCJL113: Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe speaks during a news conference at U.S. Postal Service headquarters on Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013 in Washington. The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to disburse packages six days a week. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (6 Feb 2013)

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APPHOTO PX103: In this Saturday Dec. 19, 2009 file photo, U. S. Post Office letter carrier Tim Bell delivers the mail during a snow storm in Havertown, Pa. The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan aimed at saving about $2 billion a year. In an announcement scheduled for later Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013, the service is expected to say the Saturday mail cutback would begin in August. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma) (19 Dec 2009)

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