Tester to Postal Service: Rural America relies on efficient mail service
(U.S. SENATE) - At his first opportunity to question the head of the Postal Service since the organization announced a plan to cut six-day mail delivery, Senator Jon Tester today aggressively stood up for reliable mail service in rural America.
"It's in the Constitution that we have to have a Postal Service," Tester said. "It's worked well for this country for centuries, and the fact is when it comes to our senior citizens, when it comes to rural America, it's absolutely critical. So I'm one of those guys who, when they say ‘cut service on Saturdays,' says ‘no' and wants to know what other options are out there."
Tester told Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe that cutting mail service would reduce its reliability and force rural customers to stop using the Postal Service. He also questioned the Postal Service's savings estimates from cutting six-day delivery.
"The fact of the matter is that everyone wants to help the Postal Service become more economical," said Tester, who recently called the Postal Service's decision ‘irresponsible'. "And if we're doing things that actually reduce our mail volume, we're heading in the wrong direction."
Tester, a member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, questioned Donahoe at a committee hearing on reforming the Postal Service. Tester backed a bipartisan Senate plan last year that gave the Postal Service the flexibility it needs to restructure while protecting postal service in rural states like Montana, but the House of Representatives never voted on the plan.
The Postal Service is struggling financially in part due to the 2006 law - enacted before Tester was a member of the Senate - that requires the Postal Service to prepay retirement benefits of postal employees at a rate higher than necessary.
Under the plan the Postal Service announced earlier this month, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday, but packages would still be delivered on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.