Letter to Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General - Post Office Closures

Today, 104 members of the House of Representatives sent one message to United States Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe: do not close any post offices or processing facilities next week. The bipartisan group, led by Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Bruce Braley (D-IA), urged the Postmaster General to let Congress finish action on postal reform before closing or cutting services at any facilities, including rural ones. "We write to urge you to extend the May 15 moratorium on post office and mail processing facility closures until the Congress has completed action on postal reform legislation, including any action that would result in cuts to rural postal services such as cutting back hours at rural facilities," the members wrote. "The recent Senate passage of the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012 (S. 1789) is evidence that Congress is moving toward putting the United States Postal Service (USPS) on a path to sustainability…It is critically important the postal service not preempt Congressional action by unilaterally progressing with elimination of overnight delivery, allowing for major shutdowns across the country of mail processing facilities."

The full letter is as follows:

May 9, 2012

The Honorable Patrick R. Donahoe Postmaster General 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW Washington, D.C. 20260

Dear Mr. Donahoe:

We write to urge you to extend the May 15 moratorium on post office and mail processing facility closures until the Congress has completed action on postal reform legislation, including any action that would result in cuts to rural postal services such as cutting back hours at rural facilities. The recent Senate passage of the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012 (S. 1789) is evidence that Congress is moving toward putting the United States Postal Service (USPS) on a path to sustainability.

We understand that the USPS cannot sustain itself under its current system, and we agree it is up to Congress to act. There are, however, a number of cost saving provisions in the Senate bill that require consideration, including access to $11 billion that USPS overpaid into federal retirement accounts. In addition, the bill would reduce the amount of money that USPS has to prefund for retiree health benefits by amortizing the costs over 40 years and re-calculating those costs more appropriately. Finally, the bill would allow the postal service to provide additional services, creating more opportunity for additional revenue. Without an extension of the May 15 moratorium, Congress will not be given the opportunity to fully consider these cost-saving provisions.

Furthermore, we also urge you to recognize the disastrous impact that the closings of Area Mail Processing Centers and other facilities across the country would have on local and national unemployment. The USPS is a major employer around the country and employs over 500,000 workers. With an unacceptably high unemployment rate, it would be particularly inopportune for the USPS to close facilities.

Again, we urge you to extend the May 15 moratorium to allow Congress time to finalize comprehensive postal reform legislation that would take meaningful steps to create a financially sound future for the USPS, while leaving intact the important services Americans rely on and expect. It is critically important the postal service not preempt Congressional action by unilaterally progressing with elimination of overnight delivery, allowing for major shutdowns across the country of mail processing facilities.

Thank you for your consideration of this critical issue. We look forward to continuing our work to create a more stable fiscal future for the USPS while also upholding this essential service for our communities, state, and country.

Sincerely:

Rosa DeLauro Bruce Braley Michael Capuano Ruben Hinojosa Barbara Lee Bobby Rush Loretta Sanchez Eliot Engel Betty Sutton Christopher Murphy Peter DeFazio Laura Richardson Bennie Thompson Jose Serrano William Keating Marcy Kaptur Carolyn Maloney Joe Baca Ben Ray Lujan Hansen Clarke Nick Rahall David Loebsack Barney Frank Danny Davis Bobby Scott Eleanor Holmes Norton Susan Davis William Owens Zoe Lofgren Adam Schiff Earl Blumenauer Peter Welch Charles Gonzalez Maurice Hinchey Leonard Boswell Judy Chu Jerry Costello Kathleen Hochul Ron Kind Albio Sires Shelley Berkley Jim McDermott Mike McIntyre Michael Grimm Maxine Waters Niki Tsongas Don Young Eddie Bernice Johnson Mike Michaud Mo Brooks Dutch Ruppersberger Jerrold Nadler Grace Napolitano Gary Ackerman Chellie Pingree Tim Holden David Price Ted Deutch Dan Boren Bob Filner Robert Brady Steve Cohen André Carson Sanford Bishop Howard Berman Mazie Hirono Gerald Connolly Jan Schakowsky Gwen Moore Hank Johnson, Jr. Allyson Schwartz Sam Farr Frederica Wilson Jesse Jackson, Jr. Dennis Kucinich Betty McCollum Michael Honda John Yarmuth Raul Grijalva Rick Larson Jim McGovern Terri Sewell Corrine Brown Alcee Hastings Jason Altimire Donna Edwards Gene Green Karen Bass Tim Bishop Joe Crowley Edolphus Towns Lynn Woolsey Wm. Lacy Clay Jim Himes Norman Dicks Mark Critz Carolyn McCarthy Michael Thompson Tammy Baldwin Jerry McNearney Paul Tonko G.K. Butterfield Norman Dicks Mark Critz John Larson Louise Slaughter Martin Heinrich Jo Ann Emerson