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Postal Service Bill Passes Senate With Missouri Amendments

U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt each won passage of amendments to slow the down the process of closing post office branches.

This week, versions of both amendments made it onto a broader bill aimed at restructuring the United States Postal Service.

That broader piece of legislation passed Wednesday by a 62-37 margin, and puts off the potential for ending Saturday delivery for another two years. The bill now goes back to the U.S. House.

Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-MO) amendment, modified from the original version, would essentially place a yearlong moratorium on closing rural post offices, unless there is not “significant opposition” from a particular community. Once that moratorium expires, the USPS will have to follow a specific criterion before shuttering certain post offices.

According to McCaskill’s office, those guidelines include making sure:

  • Seniors and persons with disabilities would receive the same or substantially similar service, including access to prescription medication sent through the mail.
  • Jobs and businesses in the community would not suffer economic loss, and the economic loss to the community resulting from the closure would not exceed the savings obtained by the Postal Service.
  • The area served by the post office has access to wired broadband Internet service.
  • The next nearest post office is no more than 10 miles driving distance, using roads with year-round access.

“This amendment protects rural post offices, with a realistic eye toward the future,” McCaskill said in a statement. “It’s fair to rural communities in a way that’s predictable, and that brings some real accountability to the Postal Service.”

Also passing was Sen. Roy Blunt’s (D-MO) amendment with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) to appoint a “citizen’s advocate” to communities facing post office closings.

“I applaud the passage of this bipartisan amendment to the postal reform bill that will provide communities facing postal closures with a citizens’ advocate to represent their interests,” Blunt said in a statement. “Working together to balance citizens’ needs with the Postal Service’s serious financial challenges, we can achieve an outcome that will protect the mail delivery service for the rural communities and small towns that make up America.”

What do you think....should Saturday service be eliminated?

Bonnie Krueger April 26, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I like the citizen's representation element to the bill, if it works out the way it's intended. Regarding Saturdays, I think in the great scheme of ranking importance of things to stress over, losing Saturday delivery would not be the end of the world. It will definitely upset people--you can't make everyone happy. But I do think that going three days without mail could be frustrating when you are waiting for that snail mail. I think seniors or those who are not Internet savvy will feel the brunt of it. At least technology-wise, you can view and pay bills on line and communicate on line should the paper copy not arrive when needed. The mail order prescription could be a problem but I do think that a lot of on line pharmacy companies use Fed Ex or UPS to deliver the meds, thereby not impacting those deliveries. I've also always wondered if my mail carrier gets two days off a week? It would probably be nice for mail carriers to get an actual weekend off.
Jean Noltkamper April 26, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Medco sends mine by mail. The postman justs sticks the package in mailbox. Half is hanging out. i don't like it expecially if it rains. Can't do much about it.
Rob Hudson April 26, 2012 at 08:38 PM
One of the main problems the Postal Service has with being solvent is it's long standing connection to the federal government, which subsidized it for nearly 200 years. For a long time it was a cabinet level department. Congress places some serious requirements on the USPS that private businesses would absolutely go to war over. Private business should look at the USPS and be grateful for the freedom it has and not complain nearly so much about being over-regulated.
Christopher Davis April 27, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Great idea...let's delay the inevitable even longer and keep throwing money down that black hole. If there is a need to be filled by stopping Saturday delivery and closing inefficient locations, i have no doubt that someone in the private sector will pick up the slack.

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