Senate Floor Statement on Passage of S. 1789
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
While the amended bill before us is far from perfect, I will vote in support. Failure to pass a bill could result in the Postal Service pursuing a misguided course of post office and facility closures. Such a dramatic course would irreparably harm the ability of the Postal Service to provide postal services and would in fact, threaten the viability of the US postal system.
While, as a whole, the USPS needs to be a rate-payer supported organization, not every post office needs to post a profit. In fact, while some post offices are too small to turn a profit, they are still an important part of the postal system and a vital part of their community. And, based on the estimates I’ve seen, the projected cost-savings from the proposed closing of the 3,700 post office locations would offset but a tiny part of the USPS’s current financial problems. These closures would deliver a painful blow to the communities they serve, but would reduce the Postal Service’s deficit by less than one percent.
The bill includes an amendment that I offered with Senators Tester and Franken that requires that substantial economic savings be shown before a post office or processing facility is closed and clarifies that a proposed closure shall be suspended during appeal to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). This amendment will help ensure that any post office and facility closures do not unduly impact a community’s access to postal services and that any such closure is economically justified.
There is no doubt that the Postal Service has faced a decline in first class mail volume over the past few years and will need to make significant adjustments in the future. I am hopeful that the Postal Service will work with Congress as the mail system continues to transform so that postal services can be continued and to ensure that the Postal Service is able to offer new and innovative services so it can remain viable in the 21st Century.