Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who helped lead the charge last year to maintain reliable postal delivery for communities throughout Minnesota and around the country, issued the following statement in response to the news that the U.S. Postal Service will suspend Saturday letter delivery:
"I'm extremely disappointed that the Postal Service will be discontinuing Saturday delivery. Many Minnesotans rely on the mail to get their essentials like newspapers and paychecks, and for many parts of the state - especially rural communities - the U.S. Postal Service provides the only way to get something delivered. What's even more frustrating is that this could have been avoided had the House of Representatives simply taken up the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year. That legislation would have put the Postal Service on sounder financial footing and would have allowed rural communities to have greater say in the operation of local post offices. While I'm saddened by this turn of events, I will continue to fight to ensure Minnesotans have reliable and quality postal service they need."
Sen. Franken has long been fighting 5-day postal delivery, and was among the Senate's most vocal advocates to prevent the closure of post offices and processing centers throughout Minnesota. In December 2011, he joined a small group of his Senate colleagues to successfully urge the Postmaster General to hold off on future closings until Congress could pass a postal reform plan.
The bipartisan Postal Reform bill passed in the Senate last year included an amendment championed by Sen. Franken that would have given the Postal Regulatory Commission the power to overturn scheduled post office and processing center closures when communities or individuals make a compelling case to keep the facility open. The bill would also have helped solve the fiscal problems facing the postal service by reducing the requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree healthcare benefits. No other agency or private company has this requirement. The House of Representatives never voted on the legislation.