U.S. Senators Add Amendment to Bill to Stop USPS Closures
A group of U.S. senators added an amendment that would stop the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from continuing its facility closures in a bill approving an oil pipeline project.
The Keystone XL Pipeline Act has been up for debate over the past few years, and continues to do so in its most recent form introduced Jan. 6 as Senate bill No. 1 for the current Congress (If approved, TransCanada will create a 1,179-mile crude oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb.) However, 10 days later a group of 13 senators co-sponsored an amendment to the bill in regards to the USPS.
The amendment reads: "During the two-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this act, the United States Postal Service may not close or consolidate any processing and distribution center, processing and distribution facility, network distribution center, or other facility that is operated by the United States Postal Service, the primary function of which is to sort and process mail."
Later on it seeks to restore first-class mail and periodicals overnight delivery.
USPS has closed 141 mail-processing plants since 2012, and plans to shutter up to 82 more, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the senators who co-sponsored the amendment, said. The future cuts would eliminate 15,000 jobs, affecting workers in 37 states.
“At a time when Postal Service revenue is increasing, it makes no sense to eliminate thousands of jobs and slow down the mail service that millions of Americans rely on,” Sanders said. “We should be working to strengthen the Postal Service not send it into a death spiral.”
"The post office provides a critical basic service to everyone no matter where you live," U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan senator supporting the amendment, added. "Closing facilities and cutting services will lead to delays that will harm Michigan businesses and families. I remain committed to stopping closures and ending a requirement by law that the Postal Service overfund retiree health care, which is the biggest reason for its recent operating losses."
As of Monday, 30 votes on the bill occurred, but none received a majority, with the latest—and first since the USPS amendment—split 53-39, according to congress.gov.