USPS Gives Congress More Time to Kick Can

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Last week, the U.S. Postal Service filed a plan with its regulator to close half of its mail processing facilities and reduce delivery standards in order to reduce costs. I called the move a message to Congress because “the USPS is running on financial fumes and Congress is still trying to figure out how to kick the can down the road.”

This week, the USPS said that it’s delaying the closure of mail processing facilities and post offices by a few more weeks in order to give Congress more time to come up with “comprehensive postal legislation.” According to the press release, the delay comes “in response to a request made by multiple U.S. Senators.”

That’s hardly a surprise. Here’s what I wrote last week:

The biggest obstacle standing in the way of the proposal is, of course, Congress. I would venture a guess that legislation will be introduced to stymie the plan—if it hasn’t already. After all, members of Congress have consistently fought USPS efforts to shutter post offices. Naturally, the postal employees unions aren’t happy and will make sure that policymakers know it.

According to the Washington Post, “a group of 21 senators from mostly rural states led by Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, signed a letter to congressional leaders asking them to add language to legislation that would halt closings for six months.” Sen. Sanders also sponsored legislation in November that would hand the USPS a bailout and preserve the status quo. Well, Sanders calls himself a socialist so I suppose it would make sense that he’d want to do whatever it takes to preserve the government’s floundering mail business.

And in other postal news, the House passed legislation on Tuesday to name a post office.