WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today joined a bipartisan group of 41 Senators in calling on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to extend the current moratorium on the closing of post offices or processing facilities until enactment of postal reform legislation. The current moratorium is schedule to end May 15.
On April 25, by a vote of 62-37 the U.S. Senate passed S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, bipartisan legislation that would preserve delivery standards nationwide and put the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on a path to financial stability. Maintaining delivery standards is particularly important to small businesses, farmers and a significant number of rural and elderly Americans who rely on their mail delivery for life-saving medications, important business documents and even shipment of live animals.
In Maryland, a total of 28 post offices have been slated by the USPS for closure and two processing facilities – the Easton and Cumberland Area Mail Processing (AMP) centers – have been targeted for closure. In extending the moratorium, no closures would occur until final passage of postal reform legislation, which is expected to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives soon.
In addition to Senators Cardin and Mikulski, the letter to the Postmaster General also was signed by the following: U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Casey (D-PA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jon Tester (D-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tim Johnson (D-SD).
The text of the letter to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is below:
May 2, 2012
The Honorable Patrick R. Donahoe
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza S.W.
Washington, DC 20260-0010
Dear Postmaster General Donahoe,
We write you today to urge you to extend the current moratorium on the closing of post offices and mail processing facilities. As you know, the current moratorium is scheduled to end on May 15.
On April 25th, the United States Senate passed S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act. We believe this bipartisan legislation will provide the United States Postal Service (USPS) with the flexibility and tools it needs to get back on the road to financial stability. The Senate included within this legislation a Sense of the Senate that the USPS should extend the current moratorium until enactment of the postal reform legislation.
While the USPS faces significant financial challenges, we believe that post offices provide social and economic benefits, particularly to rural communities. Rural citizens depend on the mail to manage their lives and stay connected with their government. A 2011 Commerce Department report shows that over 30 percent of U.S households did not have broadband Internet access at home and over 25 percent of households did not even use the Internet. Postal mail remains the one universal service connecting the American people to commerce, government, news, and social and civic institutions.
Preserving and maintaining a viable Postal Service and its ability to continue to serve the entire nation is an indispensable element for the entire postal industry, its workers, and most importantly the many small businesses and communities around the country who depend on a strong and reliable USPS.
We are deeply concerned that the closing of these postal facilities prior to postal reform legislation being enacted would be devastating to communities around the country. This moratorium will provide the time needed to enact the reforms in the 21st Century Postal Service Act. Again, we strongly urge you to extend the current moratorium on the closing of postal facilities.