SENATOR COLLINS URGES HOUSE LEADERS TO VOTE ON POSTAL REFORM Senator Susan Collins, one of the lead sponsors of comprehensive postal reform sent a letter to the leadership of the House of Representatives urging prompt consideration critical postal legislation
BigNews.Biz - May 02,2012 - SENATOR COLLINS URGES HOUSE LEADERS TO VOTE ON POSTAL REFORM
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Susan Collins, one of the lead sponsors of bipartisan, comprehensive postal reform sent a letter to the leadership of the House of Representatives urging prompt consideration critical postal reform legislation.
In their letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Collins and cosponsors Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) urge the House to act on legislation before May 15. The two chambers can reconcile their respective bills to turn around the Postal Service's daily loss of $25 million, prevent the unnecessary wholesale closing of regional mail facilities and local post offices, and save this iconic institution that delivers over 500 million pieces of mail a day and sustains over 8 million jobs. Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) authored by Senator Collins and her colleagues.
"The Postal Service's financial crisis will likely come to a head in the next few months. Without legislation, the Postal Service will not be able to make payments that are due and will likely be forced to slash services," wrote the Senators. "We fear that the resulting degradation of mail service will further drive away postal customers, only hastening the loss of postal revenue, the accelerating contraction of mail processing and mail-related industry, and further loss of associated jobs."
The Senate bill includes a one-year moratorium on closures of small, rural post offices unless there is no significant community opposition to the closure. It encourages the Postal Service to work with the community to explore options such as co-locating a post office within a retail store or sharing space with government agencies. Senator Collins authored a key provision that would result in the continued operation of the Eastern Maine Processing Center in Hampden by mandating certain overnight delivery standards in some areas. In Maine, reliable overnight delivery service would be impossible without both the Eastern Maine facility in Hampden and the Southern Maine plant in Scarborough. The Hampden plant could not be closed as long as these standards become law.
The financial condition of the Postal Service has been deteriorating for years but the economic downturn and the near universal use of the internet for communications and commerce have hastened its downward spiral.
To help USPS cut costs and raise revenues, the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) would:
· Give the Postmaster General access to money USPS has overpaid into one of its retirement funds to provide incentives to encourage 100,000 eligible employees to retire. This would help voluntarily "right-size" the workforce to take into account the steep decline in first class mail volume in recent years;
· Reduce the amount of money that USPS has to prefund for retiree health benefits by amortizing the costs over 40 years and calculating those costs more appropriately.
· Retain overnight delivery of first class mail, but limit it in some cases to