Chairman Carper Expresses Concern over Further USPS Plant Consolidations and Calls for Action on Comprehensive Postal Reform

WASHINGTON – Today, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement reacting to the Postmaster General’s announcement that the Postal Service will consolidate up to 82 mail processing facilities:
“Given the U.S. Postal Service’s ongoing financial difficulties, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Postmaster General is moving forward with additional cost-cutting measures using the limited tools at his disposal. It is painful any time the possibility emerges that a community could lose a postal facility — be it a post office or a mail processing center — so I know that the impacted communities are grappling with the ramifications of what the Postal Service has said it plans to do. But I also know that communities are already frustrated. I have heard from a number of my Senate colleagues that the Postal Service is failing to meet the needs of its customers in many communities throughout the country, including some of those that would lose a processing center under this most recent plan. Closing more mail processing centers will only make these existing problems worse and hurt the Postal Service’s efforts to generate new mail volume and remain competitive in the growing package delivery market.
“Fortunately, there’s another way to address the crippling financial challenges facing the Postal Service.  Bipartisan legislation approved by my committee earlier this year would generate significant savings by addressing longstanding health care and pension issues that have drained the Postal Service of billions of dollars over the years.  It would also free the Postal Service to compete more aggressively in some key areas and allow it to raise additional revenue over time.  While we wait for these reforms to bear fruit, our bill would also keep these 82 plants open for at least two years.
“This isn’t the first time the U.S. Postal Service has had to implement potentially damaging cost-cutting measures on its own to reduce costs.  In the absence of comprehensive postal reform, it probably won’t be the last. The hard truth is that these piecemeal efforts undertaken by the Postal Service are likely not enough on their own to fundamentally fix the Postal Service’s serious financial problems. Only bipartisan, comprehensive reform can put the Postal Service back on solid financial footing and give the Postal Service the tools and resources it needs to reform itself and better serve its customers, and that reform can only come from Congress. As more communities and customers brace for more changes to their mail service, Congress can’t remain idle. I urge my colleagues to join me this summer in addressing these concerns.”