Durbin, Rounds Introduce Legislation To Protect Rural Postal Processing Facilities

In a response to threats of closing four mail processing centers in Illinois, Durbin introduced the bipartisan Postal Processing Protection Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) today introduced legislation that would require the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to protect mail processing centers in rural communities by mandating a study on the consequences of downsizing or closing these 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 efficient service is not interrupted by the closure of a mail processing center, especially as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s “Delivering for America” plan continues to dismantle the postal service.

Today’s legislation is also a response to proposed plans to eliminate mail processing at P&DCs located in Champaign, Peoria, Milan, and Springfield, Illinois. 

“If I drop a piece of mail off in Springfield to make it across town, why should it have to go all the way to St. Louis and back?  Eliminating mail processing centers across our state, without consideration for the impact on mail service and postal employees, will only decimate USPS.  It is yet another instance of Postmaster General DeJoy’s ‘Delivering for America’ plan disastrously missing the mark,” said Durbin.  “I’m joining Senator Rounds in introducing legislation requiring USPS to study the effects of closing or consolidating mail processing and shipping facilities to ensure that our postal service serves Illinoisans to the best of its abilities.”

“Rural mail services are a lifeline for residents of many communities across South Dakota,” said Rounds. “The U.S. Postal Service should be required to consider the impact of closing processing facilities on rural residents, just as they consider it when closing retail locations. I’m pleased to be introducing this legislation to make certain rural residents receive their mail in a timely and efficient manner.”

This legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

After the announcement of proposed changes to mail processing centers in March, Durbin led his Illinois colleagues in sending a letter calling on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reconsider his decision to eliminate mail processing at P&DCs in Champaign, Peoria, Milan and Springfield. In their letter, the lawmakers noted that any move to alter operations at existing P&DC facilities in Illinois would only exacerbate delayed mail delivery in the state.

Durbin also joined 20 of his Senate colleagues to urge Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to stop any changes to USPS service standards that would result in job losses and further degrade mail delivery performance, especially in rural areas. Last month, Durbin called out USPS leadership for unsustainable price hikes and poor service as Forever stamps are slated to rise to 73 cents in July.

Click HERE for full bill text.