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McCaskill Scores Victory for Rural Missouri in Fight to Save Post Offices

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL

McCaskill Scores Victory for Rural Missouri in Fight to Save Post Offices

Senate committee approves McCaskill amendments increasing protections for rural post offices, delivery standards in postal reform bill

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Senate considers legislation reforming the Postal Service, Senator Claire McCaskill today won a victory for rural Missouri post offices after the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved her proposals to increase protections for rural post offices and postal delivery standards.

Today’s 9-1 committee vote to strengthen the finances of the Postal Service and keep rural post offices open comes more than a year after McCaskill successfully passed a moratorium on post office closures when the Senate approved bipartisan postal reform legislation during the last Congress. However, the Republican-led U.S. House failed to vote on the legislation, forcing Congress to restart the process.

“Rural post offices are more than just brick and mortar—they’re the lifeblood of rural Missouri, and a source of good jobs,” said McCaskill, who was born in Rolla, Mo. “Post offices remain at the center of so many of our rural communities, providing access to services for small business owners, seniors, and families, and that’s why I’ve fought to preserve them. This bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue making improvements that will ensure reasonable mail prices during consideration on the floor. It shouldn’t cost more to send a card than to buy one, but that’s where we’re headed, and that’s unacceptable. The strength of our postal service has always been that it’s reliable, affordable, and goes to the very last mile. And that’s why I’ll always go the very last mile to protect it.”

McCaskill’s amendment would prohibit the Postal Service from closing a post office unless all of the following criteria are met:

  • Seniors and persons with disabilities would receive the same or substantially similar service, including access to prescription medication sent through the mail;
  • The area served by the post office has access to wired broadband Internet service;
  • The next nearest post office is no more than 10 miles driving distance, using roads with year-round access; and
  • The community will not suffer substantial economic harm as a result of the closure.

McCaskill also worked with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) to protect mail processing facilities from closure and preserve six-day mail delivery. McCaskill has expressed concerns that the Postal Service may increase rates with inadequate justification or too quickly, harming consumers and mail volume. She has argued there must be meaningful review of Postal Service rate changes before they can be put in place and pledged to work to address her concerns on postal rate increases before the legislation is considered by the full Senate.

The legislation now heads to the full Senate.

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