Tester asks Senate to postpone Postal Service closures


Senator Jon Tester is asking Senate leaders postpone closing post offices and area mail processing facilities for six months.

In a news release, Tester said the delay would allow Congress more time to "enact reforms necessary" for the Postal Service to succeed.

"We are concerned that the Postal Service may preempt Congress on this matter by closing or consolidating nearly 3,700 mostly rural post offices, over 250 mail processing facilities, and eliminating overnight delivery for first class mail before postal reform legislation is enacted," Tester wrote, according to a press release from his office.

In August, the Postal Service announced plans to close 85 Montana post offices, and more recently recommended consolidating mail processing facilities in Kalispell, Missoula, Helena, Butte and Wolf Point. The Postal Service is struggling financially due to a 2006 law which set a formula for the pre-funding of employee health benefits, according to Tester's office.

"While some of these changes may be needed, we believe that it is very important to give Congress the opportunity to reform the postal service in a way that protects universal service while ensuring its financial viability for decades to come," Tester wrote.