WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, released the following statement on the Postal Service’s decision to delay closing or consolidation of post offices and mail processing facilities:
“Ensuring that the U.S. Postal Service has the tools and resources it needs to survive and thrive in the 21st century is a top priority for all of us in Congress, and I welcome my colleagues’ interest in addressing the Postal Service’s financial crisis as soon as possible. Over the past year, I have worked tirelessly with Senators Lieberman (ID-CT), Collins (R-ME), and Brown (R-MA), Postal management, employees, customers and my colleagues to develop a comprehensive and effective Postal reform bill. But while we worked – and continue to work – the Postal Service’s financial challenges grow worse with every passing day. In order to address those challenges, the Postal Service has moved forward with individual cost-saving measures in order to keep it afloat until Congress can approve comprehensive reform legislation. Many of my colleagues have very reasonable concerns with the Postal Service moving forward with these measures at a time when Congress is moving closer to providing the Postal Service a financial lifeline. This agreement appears to address those concerns.
“The bipartisan postal bill that I co-authored – the 21st Century Postal Service Act — contains real, permanent reform that can save this American institution and help it thrive in these challenging times. It would address concerns about the impact of closing post offices by requiring a new service standard that ensures fairness and accessibility to postal services. Once passed, the bipartisan bill would suspend all post office closings until these standards are in place. It would also set out new procedures for closing mail processing facilities that seek to improve transparency and ensure that community concerns are heard. The point of these provisions is not to protect any particular postal facility, but rather to put in place processes that are both fair and equitable while giving the Postal Service the flexibility it needs. That said, this moratorium must be temporary. In addition, it’s imperative that the Postal Service continue in the coming months to move forward with the studies and community meetings that must occur before a facility closes so that it can be ready to act at the appropriate time. It would be irresponsible for Congress to permanently take away or curtail authority the Postal Service has had for more than 30 years to make operational decisions. It would be equally irresponsible to give those customers and employees who oppose specific facilities being closed the false hope that tough decisions by the Postal Service to downsize its operations that are likely inevitable can be avoided forever.
“Moving forward, I hope that the agreement announced today between the Postal Service and our Senate colleagues can be a constructive step in Congress’s efforts to improve the Postal Service’s facility closing process and update the Postal Service operations and business model in general in response to the 21st century challenges it faces.”