Peters, Stabenow: improve mail service, postal reform


U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of more than 80 legislators from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in calling for adding lasting solutions to improve and protect mail delivery and service in comprehensive U.S. Postal Service reform legislation introduced in the House.

Peters, Stabenow and their colleagues are pressing House and Senate leaders for better, more reliable mail service – which is often a critical lifeline for families and businesses across the country in both rural and urban areas. To address a significant decline in U.S. Postal Service performance – including a complete elimination of the overnight service standard – as well as mail processing plant consolidations and post office hour reductions, the senators and members called for improvements to the current postal reform legislation in the House so it would better protect and boost the reliability, accountability and transparency of the U.S. Postal Service. The legislators also encouraged the enforcement of improved mail delivery standards in part through continual review of affordable mail service options that will help keep the Postal Service strong for years to come.

“The United States Postal Service is a critical lifeline throughout our country, connecting loved ones and families, delivering prescription drugs and other critical items, and allowing our businesses to ship products all over the world,” wrote Peters, Stabenow and their colleagues. “While the importance of reliable mail delivery for customers, especially those living in rural areas, has not changed, the Postal Service’s ability to perform that service has substantially declined, and it is critical that Congress take action on this topic when we consider comprehensive postal reform.”

Together, the members of Congress are calling on congressional leaders to build on the progress of the current U.S. House of Representatives’ bipartisan Postal Reform Act of 2016, which would help improve the Postal Service’s financial condition. Additionally, the group is pushing for key provisions to strengthen mail service, improve delivery, and protect Postal Service customers, including:

  • Making mail service and delivery more reliable – The Postal Service needs a performance target system to make sure measurements of mail delivery are accurate across the country in urban and rural communities through an in-depth classification system.
  • Improving accountability and transparency at the Postal Service – Performance information must be published online and operational plans developed when mail service and delivery targets are not met.
  • Boosting enforcement to make sure the Postal Service meets mail delivery and service standards – The Postal Service must take action to meet its operational plans and not be able to lower mail service standards to come into compliance with performance targets.
  • Continuing to review the fiscal state of the Postal Service to help it remain solvent – Provide regular updates of a long-term solvency plan that would analyze the Postal Service’s finances and make recommendations regarding affordable service options.

Last year Peters, a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined his colleagues in introducing legislation to improve rural mail service and delivery and provide protections for post offices and postal employees in rural communities across the country. The Rural Postal Act of 2015 would place a two-year moratorium on postal mail processing facility closures, restore delivery standards and preserve six-day mail home delivery.

Joining Peters and Stabenow’s call are the following 25 U.S. Senators: Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Chris Coons (D-DE)