FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 25, 2012
SCHUMER LEGISLATION PASSES SENATE AS PART OF MAJOR POSTAL REFORM BILL – BILL INCLUDES PROVISIONS TO PRESERVE NY’S RURAL POST OFFICES & DOOR-TO-DOOR MAIL DELIVERY SERVICE
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that a major postal reform bill has cleared the Senate, including his legislation to preserve door-to-door mail delivery service for the U.S. Postal Service, and Schumer-supported legislation placing a one year moratorium on rural post office closings. Schumer pushed for these provisions to be part of S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act which aimed to reform the Postal Service and identify cost savings to keep the Service strong, and passed the Senate 62 to 37. Originally, the bill would have allowed the USPS to install new group boxes, like those in apartment complexes, for an entire neighborhood or street with residential homes. Rather than having mail delivered to their mailbox or door, homeowners could have been forced to travel further from their home simply to pick up the mail. Schumer’s amendment has passed and will preserve the same door delivery service customers currently receive. The second amendment Schumer supported, introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (MO) and Jeff Merkley (OR), prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from closing rural post offices for one year. Post offices could only be closed after the one year time period if they satisfy several criteria set forth by the USPS. The criteria are designed to keep offices open to protect seniors’ access to mail-order prescriptions, business owners’ access to timely postal services, and to protect post offices that are essential to the local community. Over 50 rural offices in New York State were slated for closure under the original plan proposed by the Postmaster General, but the passage of this amendment prevents those closures.
“The Senate passage of major postal reform today clears a major hurdle towards preserving postal service for hundreds of thousands of Upstate seniors and businesses in every corner of the state, that rely on rural post offices and door-to-door delivery,” said Schumer. “I am pleased that the Senate bill makes the important cost-saving reforms needed to preserve the Post Office’s vital services, while still preventing the closure of key rural post offices in Upstate New York and ending door-to-door delivery as we know it. These are smart provisions that recognize that the USPS needs reform, but balances that need with the importance of our rural post offices and convenient delivery. With this one year moratorium, we’ll have more time to fight to protect the rural post offices that thousands of Upstate New Yorkers rely on.”
As originally written, the postal reform bill would have pushed the USPS to stop delivering mail to individual doors and mailboxes and instead install apartment complex-style group boxes, where all of the mail for a given street or neighborhood would be delivered to boxes that were grouped together in one place, further from individual homes. Citing the hardship this would place on senior citizens and others, Schumer introduced an amendment to the bill that would prohibit the USPS from installing these boxes and dramatically altering the way mail is delivered. For new developments where group mail centers make sense, the USPS would be allowed to install these boxes in the future. But Schumer’s amendment aims to preserve the door delivery service that residents have relied on for decades.
Schumer also supported the one year moratorium on rural post office closings, which passed the Senate today. The New York post offices that were slated for closure, but would remain open under the Senate bill for one year during which further study could be conducted, appear below:
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