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Congress Debating Whether USPS Can Eliminate Saturday Letter Deliveries

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There is a debate going on in Washington over whether the postal service can unilaterally eliminate Saturday letter deliveries, and it is coming down along party lines.

A law dating back to the early 1980s requires the postal service to deliver mail six days a week and get Congressional approval for any changes they'd like to implement.

But it appears lawyers for the postal service have found a complicated loophole or two.

They argue that since the government is being funded by a temporary measure known as a continuing resolution, the law doesn't apply to them.

In addition, the post office points out that they are not completely eliminating service, since packages will still be delivered.

On Wednesday, Republicans with oversight of the postal service welcomed the changes, while Democrats said the postal service was going too far.

"In my opinion, Congressional support is necessary," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat whose district covers Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. "We've always had to have it in the past. We do know that the postal service is facing astronomical challenges and tremendous debt, but doing this in a piecemeal way is not the way to do it. It should be a comprehensive approach, not a stopgap situation."

Congress has been divided on how to act to save the postal service. Last year, the Senate passed an overhaul bill, but the House never followed suit.

On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner expressed support for the postal service's decision and said Congress needs to come up with a long-term plan for the struggling operation.

"Congress, in its wisdom, has tied their hands every which way in order for them to actually run the post office in a revenue-neutral way," Boehner said. "Congress needs to act. There's no question about that. And I hope we'll act soon."

The post office's financial problems are dire. The move announced Wednesday is expected to save $2 billion, but the post office lost nearly $16 billion last year.

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