KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says that shutting down rural post officers will do nothing to solve the U.S. Postal Service's financial woes, and is outlining a plan that she says will save over 160 post offices in Missouri and make the Postal Service more competitive.
The Missouri Democrat was at Kansas City's Union Station on Monday to talk about her plan, which would also keep the Postal Service's current six-day delivery schedule. The Postal Service has been considering a plan which would close a number of post offices - many in rural areas - and would shorten their hours of operation and cut back services to Monday-Friday.
On Monday, McCaskill said that rural post offices represent less than one percent of the Postal Service's overall operating budget. She says that many of those post offices are the heart of their communities, and closing them would be a devastating loss.
"We may need to change hours of operation we may need to change locations and put post office windows in other businesses, but I think its imperative that we hold on to these post offices for the small communities around our state," said McCaskill.
McCaskill says that the USPS needs the freedom to be more entrepreneurial, saying that includes keeping a six-day delivery schedule - the competitive advantage that it has over private-sector package delivery services like UPS and FedEx.
The senator also says that the USPS needs to be relieved of the burden it has of pre-funding all of its pension and healthcare benefits, calling that burden a major cash-flow problem.
The USPS agreed in December to postpone any post office closures until May 15th. McCaskill says that she supports legislation that would put any closures on hold for at least two to four years.
Across the nation, at least 3,700 post office locations are being considered for closure.