By Jennifer Shutt
On Saturday morning, as residents bought stamps and mailed packages in post offices throughout the Lower Shore, people gathered outside of two such locations to offer up different ways to protect the U.S. Postal Service.
Since the fiscal problems of the USPS became front page news, Democrats and Republicans in Washington have debated on how to bolster the agency amid decreasing volume.
Saturday morning, Rep. Andy Harris, R-1st-Md., was outside the Quantico post office to discuss how it could remain open and why he does not agree with Maryland's senators.
"The Senate Bill is a $33 billion dollar union bailout," Harris said. "The Senate approach is wrong ... the House approach is to work with the Postal Service on a long-term plan."
With the House of Representatives plan, Harris said the Postal Service could keep rural post offices open with reduced hours and save about $500 million per year.
If the House bill were to become law, Harris said the Postal Service would work with communities to determine if they would support changing to village post offices, having those with post office boxes switch to rural delivery or possibly close based on the distance of other post offices.
Ronald Scheck, a Salisbury resident and retired Postal Service employee, argued with Harris about his positions on the Postal Service.
Scheck said the congressman didn't understand the contributions postal workers have made to the Postal Service and what money the Postal Service had given to the federal government.
During their exchange, Scheck argued with Harris and tried to get him to support the Senate Bill.
"When Senate Bill 1789 comes to the House floor, I want him to vote for it," Scheck said. "But he can't make himself do it because he feels it's a taxpayer bailout."
Within the past few weeks, Harris has also been urged by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., to support the Senate legislation aimed at saving rural mail processing centers like the Easton facility.