Carper: Senate needs to rally around my postal plan

A key senator is calling on his colleagues to rally around his bill to shore up the Postal Service’s finances.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, told his colleagues Tuesday that if they wanted to save the Postal Service from collapse, they should sign on to his legislation and add to it.

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“If Congress continues to do nothing, we face a future without the valuable services the Postal Service provides,” he said in a statement. “If my colleagues want to address these concerns for the long-haul, I urge them to join me this September as we continue our efforts to fix the serious, but solvable, financial challenges facing the Postal Service.”

Carper’s push came days after half of the Senate told appropriators to block the Postal Service from closing any more processing centers for at least one year. They argued that the closure of so many centers could hurt consumers that rely on the mail, and said that any measure funding the government past September should include language barring the cost-saving move.

The Postal Service announced earlier this summer that in January it would begin consolidating up to 82 processing centers. So far, 141 processing plants have closed in the last few years.

The post office system lost $2 billion in the last quarter alone, and closing centers is just one of several cost-saving measures it is considering. Both parties have long sought to come up with a legislative solution to help the agency get its finances back on track, but have been unable to reach a compromise.

Carper’s bill would give the Postal Service more control over how its operations, as well as the costs of mailing. Some lawmakers, particularly from rural areas, have expressed concern about the Postal Service’s desire to cut back on Saturday delivery to trim costs, while large business mailers have aired worries about higher prices under the bill.

The measure passed Carper’s committee in February, receiving one vote in opposition. At the same time, Carper acknowledged some of the concerns with the legislation Tuesday, even as he urged senators to get behind it.

“Our bill isn’t perfect but it is an important step in the right direction,” he said. “I hope my colleagues will join our efforts to enhance this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it’s too late.”