Our elected leaders speak: Representative Mike Michaud - Michaud, Pingree seek answers from USPS

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11 February 2013

MAINE– On Feb. 8, Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe requesting information on the decision of the United States Postal Service  to end six-day service. Donahoe is scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs next week. On Feb. 6, Michaud and Pingree pressed congressional leaders to act on postal reform as soon as possible.

mike_michaud

Representative Mike Michaud

“We appreciate the efforts that the USPS has taken to ensure some parcel delivery services,” wrote Michaud and Pingree. “However, concerns still remain as to how businesses and constituents will send and receive payroll, Social Security checks, and prescription drugs that are delivered through first class mail or in envelopes that may not be considered a ‘package.’”

The full text of the letter that Michaud and Pingree sent today can be found below:

February 8, 2013

Patrick R. Donahoe
Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, Southwest
Washington, DC 20260

Dear Postmaster General Donahoe:

Like millions of Americans, we are frustrated by Congress’ inability to pass comprehensive legislation to put the United States Postal Service (USPS) on a path to permanent fiscal sustainability. While we appreciate the effort that you and your staff have taken to minimize the effect of the organization’s dire financial state on consumer services, we have serious concerns about the implications that cost-saving measures may have on rural communities.

We hope that your testimony before the upcoming U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing “Solutions to the Crisis Facing the U.S. Postal Service,” will offer you the opportunity to articulate how your vision for the USPS will impact postal services in rural communities.

On Wednesday, you announced a plan to eliminate traditional Saturday mail delivery services, estimated to save the USPS about $2 billion per year. Last year, the postal service lost approximately $15.9 billion. What analysis has the post office conducted to suggest such a dramatic change in service would significantly contribute to the long-term sustainability of the USPS?

Constituents and businesses have voiced their concerns to our offices that elimination of Saturday delivery would have a significant impact on their ability to send and receive goods and services in a timely manner. We appreciate the efforts that the USPS has taken to ensure some parcel delivery services. However, concerns still remain as to how businesses and constituents will send and receive payroll, Social Security checks, and prescription drugs that are delivered through first class mail or in envelopes that may not be considered a “package.” With service standard changes implemented in the last year, a check previously mailed on a Friday within our state could take an additional three days for delivery. What studies has the USPS conducted in regard to the impact of such delivery changes on the economies of rural communities? What contingency plans has the USPS developed to ensure that consumers still receive these vital items in a timely fashion?

The financial challenges facing the USPS are monumental, and sacrifices are necessary to ensure that this critical piece of our national infrastructure is sustainable for the years to come.  It is vital, however, that the future of the postal service is not balanced on the backs of the communities who need it most.

We look forward to hearing your response to these important questions. 

Sincerely,

MIKE MICHAUD            CHELLIE PINGREE

Member of Congress              Member of Congress