Tester Presses USPS Board of Governors to Improve Service in Montana

Senator cites well-documented delays in rural service, prescription drug concerns from veterans

Following the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) recent decision to relocate Missoula’s Processing and Distribution Center outgoing operations out-of-state, and after hearing from countless veterans frustrated with USPS’s untimely delivery of prescription medications, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on the USPS Board of Governors to work towards improved postal service in Montana.

“As evident by the decision to move outgoing processing operations from Missoula to Spokane, USPS is driving misguided plans for change with blind spots and failing to address the services delays that impact rural communities,” wrote Tester in a letter to the USPS Board of Governors. “The Board of Governors are chosen to represent the public interest and I urge you to meet this responsibility, and work to improve service in Montana.”

Tester’s letter follows his urging of USPS Postmaster General Louis Dejoy to halt the United States Postal Service’s Mail Processing Facility Review considering the relocation of Missoula’s Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) to Spokane, Washington.

Tester continued, “Moving Missoula’s Processing and Distribution Center outgoing operations out-of-state is another problematic signal to Montanans who rely on the postal service for everything from life-saving medications to their hard-earned veterans’ benefits. It is concerning that the Board of Governors would allow such decisions to continue to be made in light of the well-documented and ongoing service delays in rural communities. I am regularly contacted by Montanans who are concerned about the direction USPS is heading in our state and this move further undermines our confidence that we can rely on the important services this agency offers.

As the Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester has been a champion for ensuring Montana veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve. Citing an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) December 15, 2023 report titled Processing and Delivery of Veterans Affairs Medicine, Tester noted that hundreds of thousands of veterans receive their prescriptions by mail every day with the USPS handling a large percentage of these deliveries.

“The report highlights several issues with the processing and distribution of VA medication packages that can prevent VA from fulfilling its commitment to our nation’s veterans. It is the Board of Governors’ duty to review the policies and practices of the USPS and it is a failure to allow these issues impacting veterans to persist… I ask that you give personal attention to Montana service standards and work to improve them,” Tester concluded.

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion holding the USPS accountable. In December, Tester pressed the Biden Administration to address staffing challenges and fill upcoming openings in United States Postal Service (USPS) leadership with people who have experience with postal matters in rural areas. In June, following months of discussions with Big Sky Post Office stakeholders and USPS, Tester secured a $229,000 per year increase in funding for the Big Sky Post Office to support continued services in the face of the area’s rapid population growth.

In April of 2022, his Postal Service Reform Act was signed into law, which ensures long-term, reliable mail service and put the USPS on sound financial footing. He has repeatedly pushed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on USPS policy changes that have delayed mail, threatened to undermine the agency, and harmed rural America. In 2020, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the November election.

Read Tester’s full letter to the USPS Board of Governors HERE.