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When the postmaster general announced that Saturday delivery of first-class mail would stop in August, the big question was whether Congress was functional enough to do anything about it. Well, here's part of the answer: The House continuing resolution passed Wednesday includes Saturday mail delivery through the end of the fiscal year.

Continuing Saturday delivery is a good thing, though the postal service needs much more congressional action than that—it especially needs Congress to allow it to expand its offerings, removing constraints imposed by past Congresses preventing the postal service from offering services like online bill paying and money transfers or selling things like branded t-shirts and coffee mugs. Preventing the agency from offering goods and services that put it into competition with private companies while insisting that it prefund its retiree health care to a degree no other company or organization has to do, and then calling for cuts if it loses money under those circumstances is the basic congressional road map to destroying the postal service. But while few in Congress are pushing for real solutions to this Congress-created crisis (Sen. Bernie Sanders being one of the key exceptions), that doesn't mean members of Congress want it to be quite that clear, or are thrilled to have the postmaster general freelancing on cuts.

What happens with the continuing resolution is another important question. As Jed Lewison explained, "within the context of the 2011 framework, [House] Republicans have taken care of defense but screwed over everything else." That's something the Senate will have to try to address by passing a better bill to bring to conference with the House. But continuing Saturday mail delivery should not be a controversial part of the Senate bill.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:06 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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