U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, who successfully passed legislation in the Senate to protect rural communities in Missouri from losing their post offices, released the following statement as the U.S. House of Representatives' three month-long delay on the legislation resulted in the Postal Service's first-ever default:
"There's just no excuse for members of the House to play politics with thousands of American jobs, as well as a vital service relied upon by our rural communities. In the Senate, we worked across party lines, forged a common ground, and passed a bipartisan postal reform bill months ago, and while the House lets it sit and gather dust, Missouri jobs and business opportunities hang in the balance. I again call on the U.S. House to get off the sidelines and act."
The U.S. Postal Service announced plans last year to close thousands of post offices across the country-most from rural communities-as part of a larger cost-savings package. McCaskill waged a year-long battle against the closures, arguing that shutting down small town post offices would not help the Postal Service achieve substantial cost-savings, but would deal significant blows to communities across rural America.
After McCaskill helped win a temporary moratorium on closures, she successfully secured inclusion of her amendment protecting rural post offices to the postal reform legislation being considered by the Senate.With McCaskill's support, this bipartisan reform legislation was passed by the Senate in April. In addition to protecting rural communities from losing their post offices, the legislation implements major cost-saving reforms, including addressing the Postal Service's pre-funding requirement for retiree benefits. The legislation also preserves six-day delivery and maintains overnight delivery standards-provisions which will help prevent the closure of many mail processing facilities, likely including the facilities in Springfield and Cape Girardeau, Mo.
As a result of McCaskill's efforts, the U.S. Postal Service reversed course and announced that it no longer intends to close down rural post offices.
The postal reform legislation is one example of several pieces of legislation crucial to American jobs that passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate, only to languish in the U.S. House-including the Farm Bill, which continues to be delayed even during a severe drought, and the Highway Jobs Bill.