Senator McCaskill Urges Protections for Rural Delivery as Congress Considers Postal Reform

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of more than 80 lawmakers from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to call for lasting solutions to improve and protect mail delivery and service in comprehensive U.S. Postal Service reform legislation.

clairemccaskill“The Postal Service and its employees play a vital role in our nation,” wrote McCaskill, who was just named the top-ranking Democrat of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs which has jurisdiction over the United States Postal Service. “It is essential that we preserve the Postal Service’s commitment to the American public. For this reason, improving service needs to be a critical piece of any comprehensive postal reform bill, along with the needed reforms to return the Postal Service to fiscal sustainability. Continued poor mail service hurts rural America, businesses, and our economy.”

McCaskill and her colleagues are calling on congressional leaders to ensure that any comprehensive bill will improve the Postal Service’s financial condition and strengthen mail service, improve delivery, and protect Postal Service customers.

McCaskill, a longtime advocate for postal service in rural communities, is widely credited with having waged a successful campaign over several years to save rural post offices and maintain delivery standards. Earlier this year, she called out the Postal Service for its use of its “emergency suspension” authority to close down Missouri post offices, potentially circumventing the standard process that requires input from communities that would feel the effects of a closure and notifications to Congress.

In January, McCaskill demanded answers from the Postal Service on how it will protect mail delivery for rural Missourians and efficiently manage the cost-sharing benefits with competitors to carry mail the “last mile,” especially in rural areas, saying: “I think it’s really important we get a handle on [rural delivery times]. Those of us who are really pushing to protect rural delivery…think it’s important we know what we’re working with from a data-driven basis.”

And McCaskill is a leading sponsor of the Rural Postal Act, a bill that aims to improve postal service, delivery times, and standards in rural communities that have been disproportionately affected by cuts to the Postal Service. The bill—also backed by Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Jon Tester of Montana—would restore overnight delivery, return a faster First-Class mail standard, make six-day delivery permanent, and enact strict criteria the Postal Service would have to meet before closing a post office to ensure that rural communities are still able to easily access the mail system.

Full text of the letter HERE.