BURLINGTON, Aug. 26 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sent a letter today to Postmaster General Megan Brennan urging the Postal Service to reinstate overnight mail delivery standards in light of a recent report finding significant delays in the delivery of mail.
The report from the United States Postal Service’s Inspector General found that since the Postal Service eliminated overnight delivery standards in January, there has been a 48 percent increase in the time it takes to process mail. As a result, letters that should have been delivered in three to five days have been late up to 44 percent of the time during the first five months of this year.
“It is abundantly clear that the Postal Service’s decision to shut down more than 140 mail processing plants a few years ago and to eliminate overnight delivery standards this year has been a disaster that is negatively impacting Americans all over this country,” Sanders wrote in the letter. “I would urge the Postal Service to reinstate overnight delivery standards and speed up the delivery of mail as soon as possible.”
The slowdown in mail delivery has hurt seniors living on fixed incomes, veterans, and people living in rural areas particularly hard. In the letter, Sanders noted that “veterans and seniors have complained that it is now taking 9, and sometimes as much as 11 days, for them to receive life-saving prescriptions through the mail.”
Sanders has been leading the fight against cuts to the Postal Service. Sanders noted in the letter that the most significant reason for the financial problems at the Postal Service is due to the 2006 Bush-era mandate forcing it to pay $5.5 billion a year to prefund future retiree benefits. Excluding this mandate, the Postal Service has made more than $2 billion in profits over the past three years.
Sanders also announced he will reintroduce the Postal Service Protection Act, which fixes the immediate fiscal problem of the Postal Service by ending a disastrous Bush-era mandate to pre-fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over a 10-year period; establishes new ways the Postal Service can generate revenue; prevents the closing of rural post offices; protects 6-day delivery; and protects mail processing facilities.
On April 15, 85 senators voted for an amendment that Sen. Sanders offered to the Budget Resolution calling on the Postal Service to reinstate overnight delivery standards for first-class mail and to impose a moratorium on mail processing plant closures.