Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins today expressed serious concerns over the U.S. Postal Service’s claim that it might be forced to eliminate a day of mail service as a result of the current economic downturn. Senator Collins’ comments came during a Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management hearing. Senator Collins suggested that such a move would not result in cost savings for the Postal Service, rather it would result in a further drop in volume, increased losses of revenue, and would place a major burden on customers.
“I am very disappointed that Postmaster Potter would come before the Committee and advocate, as a potential solution to this economic crisis, the elimination of the requirement of six-day-a-week delivery,” said Senator Susan Collins. “When the USPS raised its rates, its volume went down, now it is proposing cutting service. I believe that many businesses, newspaper companies, and ultimately consumers, will be forced to look to other means, such as the internet, for their just-in-time delivery causing an even bigger drop in volume. Rather than helping it recover, I believe cutting services would ultimately be a death spiral for the Postal Service.”
In 2006, Senator Collins co-authored Postal Reform legislation with Senator Carper that was signed into law. The President’s signature was the culmination of an arduous process that began in 2002 and included nine hearings and close consultation with experts and stakeholders. Senators Collins and Carper worked closely with the Postal Service, the Office of Management and Budget, employee unions, printers, publishers, non-profit organizations, and other members of the mailing community. Now, with the Postal Service recording a $2.8 billion loss for 2008 and with hard economic times for the entire mailing industry, the Postal Service is seeking relief from fully funding its retiree health benefits obligations and a potential roll back of the six day work week.
“We worked to strengthen a crucial service that is the linchpin of a $900 billion mailing industry that employs nine million Americans in fields as diverse as direct mailing, printing, catalog production, paper manufacturing, and financial services. We helped strengthen the funding for health insurance for postal workers and retirees. Above all, we worked to position the Postal Service for the challenges of the rapidly changing 21st Century economy. I believe the Postal Service must now be more proactive in addressing its long-term fiscal challenges, looking beyond short-term fixes.”