This week, versions of both amendments made it onto a broader bill aimed at restructuring the United States Postal Service.
That broader piece of legislation passed Wednesday by a 62-37 margin, and puts off the potential for ending Saturday delivery for another two years. The bill now goes back to the U.S. House.
Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-MO) amendment, modified from the original version, would essentially place a yearlong moratorium on closing rural post offices, unless there is not “significant opposition” from a particular community. Once that moratorium expires, the USPS will have to follow a specific criterion before shuttering certain post offices.
According to McCaskill’s office, those guidelines include making sure:
- Seniors and persons with disabilities would receive the same or substantially similar service, including access to prescription medication sent through the mail.
- Jobs and businesses in the community would not suffer economic loss, and the economic loss to the community resulting from the closure would not exceed the savings obtained by the Postal Service.
- The area served by the post office has access to wired broadband Internet service.
- The next nearest post office is no more than 10 miles driving distance, using roads with year-round access.
“This amendment protects rural post offices, with a realistic eye toward the future,” McCaskill said in a statement. “It’s fair to rural communities in a way that’s predictable, and that brings some real accountability to the Postal Service.”
Also passing was Sen. Roy Blunt’s (D-MO) amendment with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) to appoint a “citizen’s advocate” to communities facing post office closings.
“I applaud the passage of this bipartisan amendment to the postal reform bill that will provide communities facing postal closures with a citizens’ advocate to represent their interests,” Blunt said in a statement. “Working together to balance citizens’ needs with the Postal Service’s serious financial challenges, we can achieve an outcome that will protect the mail delivery service for the rural communities and small towns that make up America.”
What do you think....should Saturday service be eliminated?