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Shaheen, Hassan Join Colleagues to Urge Postal Service to Pause Planned Changes to Mail Delivery Network

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and 19 Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter calling on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to pause planned changes to its processing and delivery network that could slow down mail delivery until the potential impacts are further studied by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) and addressed by the Postal Service. The Senators urged USPS to request a comprehensive Advisory Opinion from the PRC that analyzes the full scope of the network changes including changes to local transportation and postal facilities across the nation before moving forward with any such changes. The letter follows the disappointing USPS decision to move forward with plans to shift mail distribution from the Manchester Processing and Distribution Center to Boston, despite strong opposition from both Senators and Granite Staters.

In part, the Senators wrote, “We call on USPS to pause all changes, pending a full study of this plan by its regulator. While USPS claims these changes overall will improve service while reducing costs, there is evidence to the contrary in locations where USPS has implemented changes so far,” wrote the Senators. “USPS must stop implementation, restore service in those areas where changes were implemented, and fully understand the nationwide effects of its plan on service and communities.”

The Senators continued, “The Postal Service’s primary responsibility is to provide timely and reliable delivery to every community across the nation. While USPS must continue adapting as an agency to remain stable and serve the public’s current needs, it must proceed with caution and understand the implications of its plans in order to protect mail delivery for all communities.”

The letter was cosigned by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Barrasso (R-WY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Kyrsten Sinema, (I-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), John Hoeven (R-ND), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Shaheen and Hassan have staunchly supported efforts to ensure Granite Staters can receive mail in a timely manner from the Postal Service. Recently, Hassan and Shaheen worked together to introduce bicameral, bipartisan legislation that would prohibit USPS from consolidating, closing or downgrading a processing and distribution center if it would leave a state without one or negatively impact mail delivery across a state.

In February, the entire New Hampshire Congressional delegation sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy expressing concerns about plans for the Manchester Processing and Distribution Center, noting that they could be damaging to mail service in New Hampshire and urging USPS to reconsider. The delegation also raised these concerns at a press conference outside the facility. The Postal Service received an outpouring of negative feedback from Granite Staters and postal workers, amplified by the Congressional delegation and other stakeholders, on its plans.

Hassan helped introduce – and Shaheen strongly supported – a bill that was signed into law to address longstanding financial and structural issues at the USPS. Shaheen and Hassan have repeatedly called for Congress to provide financial relief to USPS during the COVID-19 pandemic, including urging Postmaster General DeJoy to restore on-time delivery and stop harmful changes that were delaying delivery of Prescription Medication to Granite Staters. 

Ahead of the 2020 election, Shaheen filed an amicus brief with a group of Senators in support of legal challenges to operational changes implemented by USPS that had resulted in unreliable service and widespread delays. The New Hampshire delegation also successfully confirmed that ballots received locally would be delivered directly to the local clerk’s office after raising concerns about timely delivery. Prior to this announcement, the Postal Service had required that ballots returned by voters in New Hampshire be routed to processing facilities in Manchester, NH or White River Junction, VT, which would have unnecessarily delayed the delivery of ballots.