Published: Sep 06, 2011 5:33 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 06, 2011 9:42 PM EDT

It's been a decade of decline for the U.S. post office and Tuesday, lawmakers are holding a hearing on the agency's growing deficit. On the table, eliminating Saturday delivery, laying off thousands of workers and closing hundreds of locations.

Anyone with internet connection probably gets more e-mail than traditional mail these days. In fact, in the last ten years, total mail volume has dropped from 207 billion in 2001 to 171 billion in 2010, and that's put a major dent in the post office's bottom line.

The post office issued a report to Congress earlier this summer, standing by its estimate that implementing a five-day delivery schedule would save 3.1 billion dollars. Even though the post office is a business run without any tax dollars, the decision will fall to lawmakers on whether to eliminate Saturday delivery.

The issue goes before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee today, but it's already been hotly debated. Some say stopping Saturday service won't save enough money, instead they want the agency to recover money overpaid to its employ pension plans.

Local post office customers we spoke to are split on how to fix the problem. The Postmaster General has said if Congress doesn't act, the post office will default on its 5.5 billion dollar payment to its employee healthcare plan due September 30th.