WASHINGTON, May 30 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today welcomed news that the U.S. Postal Service quietly backed off a self-defeating plan to shutter nearly all of 82 mail sorting facilities which were on the chopping block this year.
Sanders had led an effort in Congress to keep the Postal Service from closing the plants as part of an ill-considered cost-cutting plan by the money-making mail service. Word of the Postal Service decision came in a low-key formal notification yesterday to members of Congress.
“I am pleased that the Postal Service has decided not to shut down virtually all of the 82 mail-processing plants this year,” Sanders said, “but much more needs to be done to ensure that Americans throughout the country receive their mail in a timely manner.”
Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, authored an amendment earlier this year putting the Senate firmly on record against the closings, which would have aggravated problems caused by earlier shutdowns of 141 mail-processing plants since 2012. Eighty five senators voted for Sanders’ motion calling on the House to go along with the moratorium.
Sanders’ amendment also called on the Postal Service to reinstate regional overnight delivery standards for first-class mail. Those new procedures, implemented in January, have resulted in slower deliveries.
“As a result, it is taking far too long for senior citizens, veterans and Americans all over this country to get their prescription drugs and other essential items delivered in the mail. This has got to change,” he said.
“The Postal Service should be speeding up the delivery of mail, not slowing it down. We should be working to strengthen the Postal Service, not sending it into a death spiral.”
Postal Service revenue has outpaced operating costs in recent years. Revenue from a major increase in package deliveries for customers who shop online has outpaced a decline in stamp sales because fewer letters are being sent as more people use e-mail.
To view the updated closure list, click here.