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Dems seek answers on rural postal delivery

Two Democratic senators want a federal watchdog to examine whether there's a link between access to broadband and poor service from the U.S. Postal Service.

Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma —Senate debates highlight fight over pre-existing conditions | Support grows for Utah Medicaid expansion measure | Arkansas health official defends work requirements McCaskill campaign says ‘intern’ who filmed campaign had access to voter data MORE (Mo.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma —Senate debates highlight fight over pre-existing conditions | Support grows for Utah Medicaid expansion measure | Arkansas health official defends work requirements Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue MORE (N.D.), both strong supporters of strong rural postal service, said that rural residents had a greater need for efficient mail delivery – in large part because they have less access to broadband.

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"Without efficient service from USPS, rural Americans are put at a significant economic and personal disadvantage," McCaskill and Heitkamp wrote to the Government Accountability Office.

Democratic senators like McCaskill and Heitkamp have been especially critical of Postal Service policies that have reduced hours at post offices, and elongated delivery times. 

"The planning and execution of the USPS' restructuring have raised some troubling questions and had a disproportionate impact on the nation's rural communities," McCaskill and Heitkamp said.

The Postal Service has lost billions of dollars in recent years, but also seen its finances stabilize – due in large part to the rise in online shopping. McCaskill and Heitkamp, joined by other Senate Democrats, have introduced legislation to protect rural postal delivery.