By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
Faced with continued opposition in Congress, the United States Postal Service is no longer seeking an end to Saturday mail deliveries.
Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman made the disclosure at a recent meeting with mailers in advance of a Jan. 21 hearing by the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Lawmakers told postal officials the request to move to five days of delivery a week was “a politically difficult hurdle to overcome,” according to an account of the meeting published by the Association for Postal Commerce.
As a result, Stroman said he is no longer telling Congress Saturday deliveries are part of what the Postal Service wants Congress to end.
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The disclosure comes as Postmaster General Megan Brennan is facing her first public appearance before Congress as the Postal Service’s top executive.
She is likely to be asked about Saturday deliveries and the Postal Service’s continuing efforts to retain the current 49¢ first-class stamp.
That stamp price might be reduced this year as a result of rulings by the Postal Regulatory Commission, but postal officials have continued to appeal that rate issue in the federal courts.
Ending Saturday mail deliveries had been a key element in the cost-cutting plans of former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. He claimed he could save upwards of $3 billion a year by ending the service.
Members of Congress rejected those plans repeatedly. They passed legislation requiring that the USPS not reduce its service below the levels of 1984.
The decision to drop the Saturday delivery elimination plan is a major victory for postal unions.
They had mounted a strong campaign against the proposed cuts, saying an end to Saturday deliveries would deny services needed by the elderly and rural residents who depended on the mail for prescription drugs and other items.