House Dem seeks to save overnight delivery

A senior House Democrat is bringing back legislation that would ensure that the United States Postal Service restores overnight mail delivery.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) said that Congress had to act, given that the USPS is in the process of shuttering 82 mail processing centers. The Postal Service lowered delivery standards for letters and first-class mail earlier this year but is expanding its package services. 

"At a time when millions of Americans are still struggling to pay the bills, it would be particularly inopportune for USPS to close more facilities and cut jobs," DeLauro said in a statement. "More closings would also hurt businesses that depend on overnight mail delivery to reach their customers."

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DeLauro introduced similar legislation in the previous Congress. It has attracted almost five dozen co-sponsors this time around., with one Republican, Rep. Pete King (N.Y.), signing on.

The Postal Service has lost billions of dollars in recent years, mostly through a mandated payment for future retiree healthcare. The service got a new postmaster general this week, Megan Brennan, who replaces Patrick Donahoe.

The agency has also put more of an emphasis on its package business, which has grown due to the rise in online shopping. First-class mail volume, on the other hand, has declined in recent years, and the Postal Service has pushed unsuccessfully to get Congress to scrap Saturday letter delivery.

DeLauro's release Thursday – which mentioned a processing center in Wallingford, Conn. that faces closure – also underscores the challenges that the Postal Service faces in trying to downsize an agency with hundreds of thousands of employees around the country.