U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today voted to approve legislation (62-37) aimed at ensuring the U.S. Postal Service remains strong.
"Quality postal service is extremely important to New Mexicans. Right now, the U.S. Postal Service is struggling to survive. This legislation bolsters the U.S. Postal Service and ensures it will continue to serve New Mexicans and all Americans," Bingaman said.
The bill seeks to keep the Postal Service solvent by placing it on a sustainable financial path and ensuring that reform measures don't come at the expense of the quality of mail delivery services. Specifically, it would allow the Postal Service to recoup an estimated $11 billion in overpayment to the Federal Employees Retirement System.
The bill also contains several provisions Bingaman wrote to strengthen postal service, including service to rural communities. They include:
A proposal requiring certain steps before the closure or consolidation of a mail processing facility, including a discussion of the effect of closure on the affected community and any disproportionate impact on a state, region or locality within a district.
A provision requiring the Postal Service to establish retail service standards that would take into account demographic factors (such as poverty) that may affect the ability of customers to travel to a postal retail location.
A proposal requiring that viable options be offered to communities before a closing is considered, such as reducing the number of hours that a post office operates and alternative ways of providing retail services.
Bingaman also proposed an amendment that ensures that states without a district office have a designated in-state Postal Service employee to serve as a liaison to represent the needs of postal customers in that state.
This legislation must be reconciled with legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives, when it passes its version of the bill.