(Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
The United States Postal Service has announced its plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays in an attempt to stabilize its flailing budget, although it will continue to deliver packages six days a week.
Once the plan is fully implemented, beginning the week of Aug. 5, 2013, it is projected to save the government entity $2 billion annually.
"The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits," Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO, said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings," Donahoe added.
According to Reuters, the USPS reportedly lost nearly $16 billion last fiscal year, due in part to the massive amount of money, averaging at $5.5 billion a year, the government agency must pay to future retiree health benefit funds.
Last year, USPS reached its maximum borrowing limit and had to default twice on payments it owed to the federal government.
Additionally, growing technology in the U.S. has reduced the average American's need for using the postal service, and many Americans have looked to the USPS's competitors, such as FedEx, for their shipping needs.
The 237-year-old institution has repeatedly asked Congress to end the six-day mail delivery period, but Congress has resisted.
It is currently unclear how the USPS will implement its new nationwide system without congressional approval.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the USPS contends that it has power to change its delivery schedule without congressional approval, while others disagree.
The agency's intense hemorrhaging of money has forced it to shut down many locations throughout the U.S. and change procedures, and many are looking to this new plan as a "common-sense reform," as Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma put it, for the age-old institution.