Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Reps. Cleaver, Hageman Introduce Legislation to Protect Postal Processing Facilities

June 14, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) and Harriet Hageman (R-WY) introduced legislation that would require the United States Postal Service (USPS) to protect mail processing centers in communities throughout the nation by mandating individual studies on the consequences of consolidating or closing any such facilities, which is already required before the closure of a storefront post office, but not for Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DCs). The Postal Processing Protection Act would ensure that essential service is not interrupted by the closure of a mail processing center.


“The Postal Processing Protection Act stands as a crucial safeguard, ensuring that mail processing centers remain to serve our communities nationwide,” said Congressman Cleaver. “By preserving these centers and examining the consequences of their potential closures, we uphold the continuity of essential services, mitigate the far-reaching consequences of their elimination, and alleviate the burden on an already strained postal service. It’s a measure that not only preserves efficiency, but also reinforces the interconnectedness of each and every community throughout the country. I am proud to introduce the Postal Processing Protection Act alongside Congresswoman Hageman and look forward to working together to avoid fractures in the postal service delivery network by first studying the effects of closing or consolidating these processing and shipping facilities.”


Representative Hageman stated, “Without this legislation, the USPS could arbitrarily close our only processing and distribution centers, leaving us dependent on larger cities outside the borders of our state. Such closures would threaten the promise of timely, secure mail delivery and force many USPS employees to either relocate or lose their jobs.”


This legislation was previously introduced in the Senate by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), and cosponsored by Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Peter Welch (D-VT).


Over the last several years, Congressmen Cleaver has voiced numerous concerns with the USPS about performance issues. In October 2022, Reps. Cleaver and Sam Graves (R-MO) sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy expressing concerns about the agency’s failure to fulfill their congressionally mandated duty to provide six-day mail delivery. In December 2022, the Postal Service responded with complaints about low unemployment rates in the Kansas City region and encouraged residents to apply to work on the USPS, without offering a plan for the agency to meet their mandate.

In March 2023, Reps. Cleaver and Graves called on Postmaster General DeJoy to deliver a plan to address mail delivery delays, fulfill the USPS’s legal obligation to deliver mail 6 days per week, and listen to the concerns of Kansas City residents that had been frustrated with the performance of their local USPS branches. Following that letter, the USPS OIG announced they would conduct an audit of delayed mail and delivery operations in the Northland and the Kansas City area. The audit was completed in August of last year.


In January 2024, Cleaver and Graves led a cohort of fellow lawmakers calling on USPS to halt price increases on stamps, following the agency’s record-breaking fourth rate increase in the last eighteen months. The legislators demanded USPS address the failings of the Delivering for America Plan and turn around performance issues of the USPS in order to legitimize a price hike for consumers.


In March 2024, Congressman Cleaver, along with Reps. Graves and Mark Alford (R-MO), introduced the Pony Up Act to protect consumers by requiring the USPS to pay any late fees incurred on bills due to delayed delivery service.


In April 2024, Rep. Cleaver joined bipartisan calls opposing USPS consolidation and operational changes across the country. The bipartisan group of 20 Members of Congress denounced the U.S. Postal Service’s nationwide consolidation and review announcements that could severely diminish mail service reliability for postal networks across the country.


Official text of the Postal Processing Protection Act is available here.

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