Congressional panel moves to mandate Saturday mail

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A powerful House panel Tuesday went against the wishes of GOP leaders and voted to restore a longstanding congressional mandate requiring the Postal Service to deliver mail on Saturdays.

The bipartisan voice vote in the Appropriations Committee comes as House GOP leaders are pressing a plan to use savings from ending Saturday deliveries to pay for an infusion of cash into the government fund that distributes money to states for highway construction. It is scheduled to run dry this summer.

The vote illustrates the sentiment on Capitol Hill to preserve six-day mail delivery, which is especially popular with older voters.

It’s estimated that allowing the Postal Service to end Saturday deliveries would save it about $1 billion a year.

The provision has been carried for decades as part of a spending bill with jurisdiction over the Postal Service but was originally left out this year after GOP leaders pressed allowing the Postal Service to go to five-day delivery. The agency’s budget is kept separate from the rest of the government.

The companion Senate measure contains the longstanding provision requiring Saturday mail.