Rep. Huffman Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to End Postal Facility Closures and Restore Rural Delivery Standards

June 29, 2018

Washington, D.C.- Representatives Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), David McKinley (R- WV), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), and Gwen Moore (D-WI) today reintroduced the Stop Postal Closures Act, bipartisan legislation to end the misguided closure and consolidations of mail processing facilities across the country.

In 2012, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) began closing or consolidating mail processing plants across the country, including two facilities in Eureka and Petaluma. Mail processing plants are the central sorting hubs, and their elimination can mean that mail has to travel further before delivery.

Facility closures have been associated with delays in mail delivery, missed overnight mail deadlines, and reduced frequency of deliveries. These closures are particularly taxing on seniors, veterans, and rural communities who depend on timely deliveries for prescriptions and other services. While the USPS temporarily has halted these closures, they could begin again at any time.

“On the North Coast, our communities have felt the negative effects of recent closures of postal facilities, including reduced service standards, delayed mail delivery and less frequent deliveries,” said Rep. Huffman. “We must ensure USPS is delivering for the American people, especially our seniors, veterans, and rural communities who heavily rely on dependable deliveries from the postal service. That’s why I’m introducing this bipartisan legislation to hold the Postal Service accountable, while ensuring that any future closures are based on data and the unique priorities of our local communities.”

“In rural states, the postal service connects our communities with each other, and the rest of the nation. Since 2012, mail processing plants have been closing or consolidating, resulting in delays, reduced delivery schedules and missed deadlines,” said Rep. McKinley. “This bill builds on our previous work to restore service standards, protect six-day delivery, and prevent closures of rural post offices and processing facilities.”

“The US Postal Service is going through a financial crisis and many communities, including the Bronx, have witnessed the shut-down of facilities and reduction of services in recent years,” said said Rep. Serrano. “People have to travel farther and wait longer to use basic postal services and mail delivery is often delayed. Seniors, veterans and people with chronic disease or disabilities have been the ones impacted the most. Having easy access to your postal service can make the difference between getting your medicines or not. This bill will help ensure any future plans to close postal facilities can’t move forward without taking into consideration local communities’ reality and needs.”

“Post office closures and reduced hours have hurt many rural West Virginia residents, and the consolidation of mail processing facilities threatens to limit their mail service even more,” said Rep. Jenkins. “This legislation stops future mail facility closures and consolidations until they are carefully studied to ensure consumers are protected. Rural residents, in particular, depend on the United States Postal Service to pay bills on time and stay connected, and I will work to protect this important service for them.”

“There are many issues that bring rural and underserved communities together, including the need for in person access to modern, efficient post offices, especially for elderly or handicap populations,” said Rep. Moore. “Our constituents depend on a well-run USPS to manage their businesses, access their medicine, and stay in touch with their families. It is imperative that we reach across the aisle to prevent the closure and consolidation of post offices across be country.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Put a moratorium on current closures and consolidations;
  • Establish a framework that any future closures must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC);
  • Creates a list of criteria and data that USPS must analyze including impact on small businesses, vote by mail voters, and unique geographic situations;
  • Requires a robust public notification and comment period so stakeholders’ views are a part of the PRC’s review;
  • Reinstate the July 1, 2012 mail delivery standards of the 1-3 day delivery, which was eliminated at the start of 2015 by USPS; and
  • Empower the PRC to set annual performance benchmarks.

Rep. Huffman also introduced the Stop Postal Closures Act in the 114th Congress.