Nelson: Don't close rural post offices before trying to fix USPS
December 9, 2011 -- Today, Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson asked for a six-month moratorium to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from closing or consolidating local mail processing facilities or rural post offices. This delay will provide an opportunity to comprehensively address reform of the Postal Service before post offices and mail processing facilities are closed in rural Nebraska and communities across the country.
"Rural post offices, the services they provide, and the people who provide them, have great value to communities across Nebraska. Congress needs to work with the Postal Service to fix the problems before deciding to reduce services to people who need them," Senator Ben Nelson said. "Deciding to close post offices and mail processing plants for short-term cost reductions is a hasty decision."
Nelson and 19 other senators sent a letter to Senate leadership today, requesting that Congress prevent the USPS from closing or consolidating rural post offices and mail processing facilities.
In the letter, Nelson and his colleagues wrote: "We are concerned that the postal service may preempt Congress on this matter by closing or consolidating nearly 3,700 mostly rural post offices, over 250 mail processing facilities, and eliminating overnight delivery for first class mail before postal reform legislation is enacted. While some of these changes may be needed, we believe that it is very important to give Congress the opportunity to reform the postal service in a way that protects universal service while ensuring its financial viability for decades to come."
Nelson believes Congress must have the opportunity to explore other ways for the Postal Service to save money before immediately closing rural post offices.
"Closing post offices before we try to fix the system is putting the cart before the horse. If it isn't possible to make the necessary reforms that make these post offices viable, then we can consider other options -- but we shouldn't start by closing them," Nelson said.
Recognizing the potential negative impact post office closings could have on rural Nebraskans, the Nebraska State Legislature has approved a resolution opposing the closure of 90 rural post offices.
"With 90 rural post offices targeted for closure in Nebraska, we have to remember that the USPS was created to provide a public service," Nelson said. "Our local post offices play a special role in our communities, keeping us connected to our friends and families, and keeping businesses connected to their customers. They are an important part of our economy and our social fabric, serving every city, suburb and small town in Nebraska."