December 15, 2011

Five-Month Delay Announced on Post Office Closures

Less than one week after U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill called for a five-month delay in postal facility closures, the U.S. Postal Service has agreed to put any potential closures on hold until May 15 to allow time to implement cost-saving reforms.

Rutledge officials have learned this reprieve will include the small town's post office, which was among those scheduled for closure.

"Folks in communities across Missouri rely on the Postal Service for everything from life-saving prescriptions to veterans' benefits," McCaskill said. "I'm glad that we have convinced the Postal Service to put the brakes on closing any post offices for six months so that we have time to enact reforms for the long-term health of the postal service and protect communities. I'll remain devoted to ensuring the Postal Service acts with full transparency and fairness as they make decisions that impact services in Missouri."

McCaskill had joined a request to Senate leaders last week, asking them to approve legislative language preventing the Postal Service from closing any post offices or area mail processing facilities for at least six months, allowing more time for Congress to "enact reforms necessary" to potentially save those facilities.

A bipartisan amendment to the 21st Century Postal Service Act supported by McCaskill and approved by a Senate panel last month would require the Postal Service to present communities with several alternative options to closing a post office, such as shortening hours of operation or relocating post offices. Most importantly, the measure would also require the Postal Service to consider these options for any post office closings made before the bill becomes law.

A second amendment sponsored by McCaskill would institute the same appeal process for the public in the event of a closure of a postal station or branch as is in place for closures of a full post office, while a third amendment sponsored by McCaskill would require the Postal Service to respond in writing to every recommendation made by the Postal Regulatory Commission on cost-saving measures, further boosting accountability for federal officials.

McCaskill is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service.

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