McCaskill Stands up for Rural Postal Service in Face of Privatization Proposals
Senator: ‘There is no way a privatization model delivers the same level of service to rural America as they currently receive'
WASHINGTON – At a Senate hearing today focused on government reorganization, including the potential privatization of the United States Postal Service, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill highlighted the negative impact such a proposal would have on rural communities—including reduced access to the critical services Missourians in rural communities rely on.
“We all understand that a business model of privatization for postal results in one reality: the same reality that faced rural communities when it was time for them to get electricity—the same reality that faces rural communities when they need to get broadband. And that is, there is no business model that will provide the level of profit that that last mile of real estate requires,” McCaskill said. “And if you look at what’s going on in rural America right now, the hope for rural America is… the ability of rural Americans to participate in small business by online participation. So that’s why we spent so much time talking about rural broadband. But if you don’t have the delivery of the packages, … that is absolutely a big step backwards for economic vibrancy in our rural communities. There is no way a privatization model delivers the same level of service to rural America as they currently receive. … I know what privatization means for rural Missouri, and I will not go there on postal.”
McCaskill serves as the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over matters related to government reform, as well as the United States Postal Service. The hearing featured testimony from Margaret Weichert, the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget.
McCaskill has long worked to improve postal service and hold the agency accountable, particular for Missourians in rural communities. Earlier this year, she sent a letter to the Administration’s Postal Task Force, urging it to prioritize reliable access in rural communities and improved delivery times. McCaskill has been fighting to fix a bizarre quirk in which some Missouri residents have Iowa and Arkansas mailing addresses, causing unnecessary problems for the affected Missourians. She called for postal reforms after a Postal Service Inspector General report found that mismanagement led to up to two billion pieces of delayed mail.
McCaskill has also called for answers from the Postmaster General following reports from Missouri postal managers that their staffing needs have been disregarded. She joined a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce a comprehensive postal reform bill that will put the Postal Service on firm financial footing, improve performance in rural communities, and allow for the development of new products and services. McCaskill is widely credited with having waged a successful campaign over several years to save rural post offices in Missouri and maintain delivery standards.