April 25, 2012

Manchin Fights to Keep All Postal Facilities Open for At Least 2 Years

Without the inclusion of two-year moratorium, Manchin will not support final passage of the Postal Reform bill

Manchin provision would have prevented closure of 3,700 post offices, including 150 in West Virginia, for a two-year period

Provision would have saved 35,000 jobs at mail processing facilities that could still close

Watch Senator Manchin speak on the Senate floor here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SenateSession4996/start/16762/stop/16845

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) urged his colleagues today to support an amendment to the Postal Reform bill that would have prohibited the closure of any postal facility for a period of two years. The Manchin-authored provision failed to pass the Senate, 43-53.  

“I am very disappointed that the Senate failed to approve my provision that would have prevented the closure of 3,700 post offices – including 150 in West Virginia – for a period of two years. Without this provision included, I cannot support the bill,” Senator Manchin said. “The bill as it stands would allow thousands of postal facilities to be closed for a savings of $200 million, which is 1 percent of what the Postal Service needs to get its finances under control, and about the same amount of money we spend in one day in Afghanistan. These postal facilities mean too much to the 150 communities that would be affected in West Virginia – and allowing our postal facilities to shut their doors for minimal savings without requiring the Postal Service to take a serious look at alternative ways to get their finances in order is a grave mistake.” 

Senator Manchin said that while an amendment offered by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) would prohibit rural post offices from closing for a period of one year, the provision does not go far enough to protect the communities that stand to lose post offices. He said the measure does not guarantee that, in one year’s time, an acceptable solution to get the Postal Service’s finances in order will be found, which would leave front line facilities in jeopardy. 

Senator Manchin’s provision would have also saved 35,000 jobs at mail processing facilities around the country that could still close. 

Senator Manchin is encouraging the Postal Service to consider several other cost-saving measures before cutting into the core of its mission. Some of his preferred cost-saving ideas include: eliminating excessive bonuses for Postal Service executives, making sure that the products offered by the Postal Service cover their costs, getting rid of retail space that the Postal Service is not using, and ending the expenditure of Postal Service advertising dollars on luxuries such as sponsoring the U.S. Tour de France team and a NASCAR team. 

A map illustrating the 150 West Virginia postal facilities that the Postal Reform bill would allow to be closed is attached.