Ensuring Postal Service Access for Rural Communities is Topic of McCaskill Discussions

Friday, April 7, 2017

WASHINGTON – Ensuring continued Postal Service access in Missouri’s small towns and rural communities was the focus of meetings U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill had with representatives from the National Association of Letter Carriers and the American Postal Workers Union.


“Postal service is the lifeblood of many of our towns, delivering lifesaving prescriptions, and offering vital services for our small businesses,” said McCaskill, the top ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service. “It’s critical for our rural communities that we ensure the Postal Service is fully functioning and financially secure.”


McCaskill, a longtime advocate for postal service in rural communities, is widely credited with having waged a successful campaign over several years to save rural post offices and maintain delivery standards. Last year, McCaskill introduced bipartisan legislation to protect hundreds of post offices around the country from indefinite “emergency closure” and called out the Postal Service for its use of these “emergency suspension” authority to close down Missouri post offices.


Last January, McCaskill demanded answers from the Postal Service on how it will protect mail delivery for rural Missourians and efficiently manage the cost-sharing benefits with competitors to carry mail the “last mile,” especially in rural areas, saying: “I think it’s really important we get a handle on [rural delivery times]. Those of us who are really pushing to protect rural delivery…think it’s important we know what we’re working with from a data-driven basis.”


And McCaskill was a leading sponsor of the Rural Postal Act, a bill that aimed to improve postal service, delivery times, and standards in rural communities that have been disproportionately affected by cuts to the Postal Service. The effort sought to restore overnight delivery, return a faster First-Class mail standard, make six-day delivery permanent, and enact strict criteria the Postal Service would have to meet before closing a post office to ensure that rural communities are still able to easily access the mail system.