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Public Statements

Letter to Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss) today reported their support for extending a moratorium on the closure of rural post offices around the country, including dozens targeted by the U.S. Postal Service for termination in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Senators are among 43 Senators who last week wrote Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe asking that a moratorium on post office closures, which ends May 15, be extended as the Senate and House work to approve postal service reform legislation.

"Many rural residents in Mississippi are concerned about losing their local postal services. It makes sense for the Postal Service to give Congress more time to complete postal reform legislation before taking action to close rural post offices," Cochran said.

"The Senate recently passed a bipartisan bill that would help the Postal Service set standards on closing post offices," said Wicker. "It is premature to close these post offices while we are in the middle of this process."

Cochran and Wicker on April 25 voted for Senate passage of the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S.1789), which would put off USPS plans to shutter post offices and consolidate postal processing centers. That measure also provided the financially-troubled institution with other tools to become more financially viable.

"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," the bipartisan group of Senators wrote Donahoe.

"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," the letter concluded.

Last fall, the Postal Service identified nearly 61 mostly rural post offices in Mississippi for possible closure and proposed consolidating mail distribution and processing centers in Tupelo, Grenada, Hattiesburg and Gulfport. Nearly 3,700 post offices and 252 mail processing centers nationwide would be affected under initial plans presented by the USPS.

Debate is pending on a postal reform bill (HR.2309) in the House of Representatives. When that legislation is approved, it would need to be reconciled with the Senate-passed bill before it could be forwarded to the White House for consideration.

The following is the text of the letter signed by 43 Senators to Donahoe:

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.


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