In her latest newsletter, Sen. Claire McCaskill says she is working to make sure that rural communities continue to maintain effective mail service in light of cuts announced by USPS.
Congress is being forced to take a hard look at the way the government spends money and it is crucial that we get the national debt under control. But it’s more important to make cuts in a smart, balanced way. That’s why I’m working to bring some common sense to the debate over closing thousands of post offices across the country.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has endured some tough decisions to keep itself afloat. During the last four fiscal years, the Postal Service has eliminated a total of 100,000 career positions and saved approximately $12 billion in costs.
But it’s not enough.
Dramatically increased fuel and paper costs contribute to losses, which are estimated to be more than $8 billion this fiscal year alone. Due to increased reliance on the Internet, the volume of mail delivered the Postal Service has been in decline since 2006, sharply reducing revenue.
Recently, the Postal Service announced plans to conduct a nationwide study of more 3,600 postal facilities. More than 160 facilities in Missouri were included on the list, meaning that nearly one out of every five of our post offices, branches and stations will be considered for possible closure.
Those in charge of the Postal Service say they will take special care to ensure rural customers are up-to-date with closure information. I plan to hold their feet to the fire, because it’s imperative that the closure process is handled in a transparent way.
That’s why I wrote to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe with colleagues expressing our concern with the effort to close and consolidate rural postal facilities. Specifically, our letter urges USPS to make every effort to adhere to the legal requirement that it provide the maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities, and small towns where post offices are not self-sustaining.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to question the Postmaster General directly during a Senate hearing.
Though solving the fiscal woes of USPS must be a collaborative and comprehensive process, I understand that rural communities have special connections to their local post offices. For many Americans – especially those lacking access to broadband Internet at home – the postal service is a lifeline, social network, a conduit for news and vital link.
As a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, which oversees the Postal Service, I’ll be in close contact with Postal Service authorities to ensure that they are responsive to the questions and concerns from communities that may be affected.
Congress needs to get its fiscal house in order—but it can’t be done just on the back of rural communities.