From the offices of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Sen. Ben Cardin:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) announced they have joined 25 other senators in calling for significant improvements in a bill to modernize the U.S. Postal Service.
In a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Subcommittee on Federal financial Management, Government Information and International Security, the senators suggested specific measures to preserve first-class and Saturday mail delivery, stop wholesale closings of rural post offices and mail processing centers, and spare many of the 220,000 jobs that the Postal Service wants to cut.
“The Postal Service is the fabric of our neighborhoods and rural communities,” Senator Mikulski said. “Every day our postal workers are working hard for America – binding the nation together through communication. I will continue to fight on behalf of postal worker jobs by working with my colleagues to make sure we have a solution that leaves the Postal Service in a stable financial condition without harming its employees or its customers.”
“The delivery of the mail is a fundamental government service, and I am committed to ensuring that postal reform maintains the jobs and facilities that are needed to carry out the postal services’ mission of timely, efficient delivery of the mail,” said Senator Cardin. “I will not support reform efforts that will result in an erosion of services and a decline in the trust that the American people have in the U.S. Postal Service.”
The senators wrote that the Postal Service should be prohibited from slowing down first-class mail delivery, which would result if Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe carries out a plan to shutter 252 mail processing centers. The shutdowns would leave the Postal Service with fewer than half of the 508 mail sorting facilities that are in operation today.
“If USPS becomes inconvenient and slow, many of its most loyal customers – from home delivery medication companies to newspaper publishers – will turn to private mailing options. Once those customers leave, they are most likely not coming back, and the Postal Service’s financial woes will continue to spiral,” the letter said.
The letter writers also said the Senate bill should prevent the closure of many rural post offices that are the “heart and soul” of their communities, many of them serving areas that lack Internet and cell phone service.
They want stronger language in the bill to maintain six-day mail delivery. The Postal Service should have to hold off for at least four years before it could take steps to end Saturday deliveries, and then only under very limited circumstances.
The senators also said the Postal Service should be allowed to recover more than $10 billion in overpayments in a pension fund and no longer be forced to put $5.5 billion a year into a retiree health care account that is already flush with funds.
Under a key proposal, the senators called for a Blue-Ribbon Entrepreneurial Commission to develop a new business model for the Postal Service. The committee bill would let the Postal Service offer some new services like issuing state hunting and fishing licenses, for example. The Senate bill should go farther, Sanders and the others said, by implementing innovative ideas for new services recommended by the commission of entrepreneurs, innovators, postmasters, postal workers and others.
In addition to Senators Mikulski, Cardin and the letter was signed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mike Bennet (D-Colo.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Casey Jr., (D-Pa.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Tim Johnson (D-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.),
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (N.M.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Chris Breidenbaugh says
And now you know why the PO is in the shape it is…
To compete with private enterprise, the PO needs to be run like a private enterprise. Running it, by law, as if it did not need to make a profit, will certainly lead to failure (make that “has” lead to faliure). The PO needs to sink or swim. Mikulski and Cardin need to get out of the way and let the managers there do their job. Either that, or make it a government agency (again) and be done with it.
Doug Hundley says
The post office needs it’s overpayments to the retirement system which are over 85 billion,but the feds ,noooo,that’s my money because we gave you a monopoly on delivery the letter mail.. Sorry Chris that the post office kicked you to the curb when you failed the test and background checks, sink or swim.It’s obivious that you sunk and now are a bottom feeder
Chris Breidenbaugh says
Hmmm…. All the signers to the “letter” are Democrats. (Except for Sanders who’s actually a Socialist.)
Steven Bee says
Let it fail!
Larry Smith says
The Soviets tried Economic Planning Committees. They don’t work. The USPS is losing $1m an hour, 24 hours a day. Why should my son and his children pay for my Saturday delivery?? Let the invisible hand of free markets dictate the best model for the USPS. Personally, I’d be fine with M-W-F deliveries and using overnight companies — including the USPS — for expedited shipping. We’re in a new world; we need politicians in Washington who grasp that…and are willing to lead Americans through it.
Doug Hundley says
sorry Larry,You are mistaked. They say they are losing 5.5 billion a year for 10 years due to the prefunding of retiree heath benefits for 75 years. The new hires at the post office have no benefits and will not need this money,but at least the money will be there for the feds.This is what it is all about anyway.Why should we be funding benefits for people not even borned yet? By the way this fund is already fully funded .
Funny how liberals are always pushing the “moving forward” or “lean forward” mantra with social issues, yet when it comes to keeping antiquated services running, they’re all about the status quo. I say let the USPS “move forward” into whatever new territory awaits. As posted above by another, “we’re in a new world”.
Otto Schmidlap says
Our lib senators in action! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) announced they are sponsoring a bill to save the whale oil industry.
Senators Mikulski and Cardin were careful to protect the livelihoods of current and future whale oil producers with government subsidies and at the same time ensure that no whales would be harvested for their oil.
Please call Senators Mikulski (202) 224-4654 and Cardin (202) 224-4524 in support of the Whale Oil Protection Act SB 6996
There are many underutilized post office facilities that can and should be consolidated, much in the same fashion that military bases went through over the last 30 + years. Obviously, no one wants to create a 50 mile drive for a taxpayer just to mail a letter. The key is that this process is done in a reasonable manner.
We the taxpayers want to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of our tax dollars. If this means a closing of some post offices, then have at it. I am certain there are also many other cost-cutting measures that Babs and Howie would agree to.
frankly speaking says
the Post Office is mandated by the U.S. CONSTITUTION. Which one of you “conservative” scholars are advocating total ignorance of this document? Of course the Senate must do what is needed to allow the USPS to manage its resources and reduce costs while still providing a service which along with the U.S. Armed Forces are the only two constitutional services which must be provided…