The U.S. Senate Tuesday gave bipartisan approval to a plan by Sen. Claire McCaskill to stop a plan by the U.S. Postal Service to close rural post offices.
McCaskill is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees the Postal Service.
Under McCaskill's plan, the USPS would be prohibited from closing rural post offices at any time in the next 12 months--unless there is not significant opposition from the affected community--while other postal reforms are put in place to shore up the USPS finances without harming rural communities.
According to McCaskill's amendment, after the one-year moratorium expires, rural post offices will still be shielded from closures, unless the USPS can meet all of the following strict criteria:
· Seniors and persons with disabilities would receive the same or substantially similar service, including access to prescription medication sent through the mail
· Jobs and businesses in the community would not suffer economic loss, and the economic loss to the community resulting from the closure would not exceed the savings obtained by the Postal Service
· The area served by the post office has access to wired broadband Internet service
· And, the next nearest post office is no more than 10 miles driving distance, using roads with year-round access.
McCaskill says she's also working to better protect mail processing facilities from closure, and to preserve six-day mail delivery.