Tester to Postal Service: Stop digging your own grave

Senator sends clear message about closures to Postmaster General, Congress

(U.S. Senate) – With the Postal Service and some members of Congress giving the green light to closing more mail processing facilities, Senator Jon Tester is sending a clear message: stop digging the hole deeper.

Tester today led a group of Senators to the Senate floor to tell Postal Service leadership and Congress that as long as the Postal Service continues to close area mail processing facilities, it is shooting itself in the foot as it strives to improve its finances.

“There are a lot of folks around here who’d love to see the Postal Service go out of business. But the Postal Service – whether in urban America or rural America – delivers the goods Americans need,” Tester said. “All the Postal Service doing with its short-sighted cuts is weakening trust in the Postal Service. Essentially, they are digging their fiscal hole deeper.”

Starting in January, the Postal Service plans to eliminate overnight delivery in most of the country and close 82 mail processing facilities. These facilities route mail around the country so that letters, packages, medicine, equipment – and, yes, holiday gifts – get where they need to go. Closing the facilities would also cost up to 15,000 jobs.

Tester and his colleagues are pushing for a moratorium on processing facility closures while Tester and Congress work on a balanced reform bill. Tester said previous reform efforts do not preserve needed mail delivery standards or the future viability of the Postal Service.

“A proposal we’re working on will give the Postal Service the flexibility to raise new revenue while reducing the costly mandate to pre-fund retirement benefits,” Tester said. “We are trying to reform the Postal Service without putting the burden on rural America. But in the meantime, there’s no reason to make our work harder and hurt regular American families.”

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.

Tester is a member of the Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee that oversees the Postal Service. He has previously criticized the Postmaster General for taking steps to privatize the agency and opposed the Committee’s postal reform bill because it did not preserve strong enough mail delivery standards in rural America or adequately support postal workers.

Tester’s speech, as prepared for delivery, is available online HERE. Video is available HERE. Tester was joined on the floor by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.).