Statement of the National League of Postmasters on Markup of the H.R. 2309, the Issa Bill
October 13, 2011
Finally, We Are Beginning to Win the Post Office Closing Battle. The rural Congressional Giant is finally awake. Thanks to all the grassroots efforts of the members of the National League of Postmasters and those of all of the members of your communities and other postmasters who have rallied to oppose the widespread closing of rural post offices, we are beginning to see results.
Just minutes ago, the House Government Reform Committee passed out H.R. 2309 with a wide variety of amendments.
Among those amendments was one that—in recognition of the importance of small rural post offices— would limit the closing of rural post offices to only 10% of all the post offices being closed. That means that, for every ten post offices that would be closed, only one of them would could be rural. Thus, if the Postal Service actually ended up closing 3600 post offices, only 360 of them could be rural post offices.
Additionally, a provision was added that would give appeal rights to the citizens of communities where stations and branches are being considered for closing.
Further, the effort to take delivery down to five days received what we think is a death blow today, as a Chaffetz amendment was adopted that would allow the Postal Service the ability to take delivery down to 5 days a week, only 12 times a year, and only if the Postal Service wanted to do that. Some of the Postal Service executives have told us that this wouldn’t be worth their effort.
The importance of today’s developments cannot be overstated. The tide in Congress is clearly changing and changing fast. The power of Congress is beginning to coalesce in a very strong, very direct, and very nonpartisan fashion against the widespread closing of small rural post offices.
Thank you everyone who has rallied to our standard. Don’t quit. Stay on course. Keep exercising your First Amendment rights, and keep the pressure on. We WILL end up winning this battle by continuing to contact our Representatives. Stay the Course..
But let us make several things clear.
First, this bill is still not acceptable to the LEAGUE and would cause great harm to the Postal Service. Despite the victory on small rural post offices, the bill requires closing a billion dollars worth of post offices in suburban and urban districts which would result in closing many distribution nodes, firing many urban carriers and the quality of delivery service would implode. That provision cannot stay without destroying the quality of our nation’s postal delivery.
Second, even with these amendments, this bill cannot pass the House. More amendments and compromises are necessary, and then there is the Senate. One thing is clear though, the hardnosed, naïve, and unrealistic desire on this Committee’s part to close huge numbers of rural post offices is gone. That is good news.
Finally, there a still a long, long, long way to go and all of you must continue to do exactly as you have been doing. You have done a wonderful job and several members of the Committee have noted how their constituents have been pounding their doors down in opposition to closing their post offices. Nice job all. Keep it up.