WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill expressed concerns that many rural Missourians have about proposed cutbacks in the United States Postal Service. McCaskill urged Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to take into consideration the effect that proposed reforms to institute five-day delivery (with the proposed elimination of Saturdays) and to close hundreds of post offices would have on rural communities that depend on the Postal Service.
"I get it that we’ve got a huge problem here. I get it that money coming in doesn’t match money going out…but I do think it’s important that these rural communities feel like they have an opportunity to weigh in," McCaskill said in today’s hearing.
McCaskill emphasized how important Saturday delivery is to rural communities, especially as it relates to delivery of goods like medicine. Rural communities rely on the postal service for access to news, goods, and services that may not be available through other means.
"I do feel very strongly that if we can save six days, it is very important to the integrity of the product we have which is United States Postal Service, rain, snow, or sleet, it’s going to happen six days a week," she said.
McCaskill also expressed disappointment that a survey done by the Postal Service to garner input from "rural" communities focused on two non-rural communities, one in suburban Atlanta and one in suburban Seattle.
"Would it be possible to take a real look at a rural community, not one that is within commuting distance of a major city. It’s those folks…that Saturday delivery is very important for in terms of their ability to receive mail on Saturdays. Is there a reason why, what I would call a true rural community was not included in the survey?" McCaskill asked.
Postmaster General Donahue pledged to solicit additional input from such communities before any future decision-making.