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Postal Drama: Act 1, Scene 2: Acts of Congress and Corrections

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In the first installment, I discussed how Congress must act to allow the Postal Service to adjust to the internet age.

The need for an Act of Congress is not crystal clear, however.

The USPS web site says:

The Postal Service plans to implement five-day delivery in fiscal year 2011. Implementation is contingent on Congress not enacting legislation to prevent that change in service. In addition, the Postal Service asked the Postal Regulatory Commission on March 30 to review its plans and issue a non-binding advisory opinion.

This means that, when it comes to eliminating Saturday Delivery, Congress can block the change, but if no action is taken, the Postal Service will be making the change to five-day delivery during fiscal 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011).

(Oddly, a change of this kind can be made with only a non-binding "advisory" opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission (the PRC). Mental conflict: If the Postal Service wants to raise postage rates two cents to make up for declines in volume, the PRC can issue a binding refusal. But if the Postal Service is going to reduce a core delivery service, in place for decades, the PRC can only "advise."

Such fun!)

However, most of us in the industry are under the impression that the move to five day delivery can only happen if Congress specifically authorizes it.

I am working on clarifying this story.

Further Reading: