U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., pushed U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe Wednesday to reverse his decision to end Saturday mail delivery in the country.
“It’s in the Constitution that we have to have a Postal Service,” Tester said. “It’s worked well for this country for centuries, and the fact is when it comes to our senior citizens, when it comes to rural America, it’s absolutely critical. So I’m one of those guys who, when they say ‘cut service on Saturdays,’ says ‘no’ and wants to know what other options are out there.”
Tester made his comments to Donahoe during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on which Tester sits.
The Postal Service announced earlier this month it was going to cancel Saturday mail delivery, although it would continue package deliveries on Saturdays.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., also blasted the decision when it was announced. He said what is needed is a long-term solution to reduce the Postal Service expenses to make it financially viable, noting that the Senate passed a bill intended to do that in 2012, but the bill never was taken up the U.S. House of Representatives.
“My number one goal is to make sure our rural post offices aren’t bearing the brunt of this burden, and that means keeping Montana post offices open and Montana postal workers on the job,” Baucus said at the time of the Postal Service announcement. “We can’t continue to operate the Postal Service on knee-jerk cuts that put Montana services at risk without solving the real problem. We need a real, long-term solution to put the Postal Service back in the black like the compromise the Senate passed last year.”
Tester said in a press conference last week that he thinks the Postal Service is moving in the wrong direction.
Cutting services will cause people to rely on the service less, he said, adding that Saturday delivery is crucial to people in rural areas, who need the deliveries.
He said he, as a farmer, often relies on shipping through the post office — adding that the Saturday package delivery isn’t likely to happen on rural routes if mail is not being delivered.
Having the package to the the post office in Big Sandy isn’t much help to someone trying to work in the field, Tester said.
“I think (Donahoe) is heading in the wrong direction,” he said during the press conference. “There are ways to fix this without cutting service.”