The check, they say, is in the mail. But where is the Democrats’ plan to end the billion-dollar losses at the U.S. Postal Service?
All four members of the New Hampshire federal delegation held a press conference demanding the USPS keep its processing and distribution center in Manchester fully up and running.
The USPS recently announced the Manchester facility will undergo a euphemistically titled process called an “operational evaluation.” That evaluation could mean layoffs or closure for the center.
Democrats Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas spoke outside the center Monday, vowing to keep the facility operating in the face of dire financial losses. The four even penned a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy demanding he keep the Manchester site open.
“Our constituents depend on the Postal Service for prompt and reliable mail and package deliveries. Delays of critical deliveries, such as medications and benefit payments, can cause significant harm, especially for elderly Americans and those living in rural areas. The decisions the Postal Service is considering would put at risk the ability for individuals across New Hampshire to rely on the Postal Service to ensure their delivery needs are met,” they wrote.
It’s not clear which member paid the 68 cents for the first-class stamp — or if they simply sent an email.
In November, the USPS reported a $6.5 billion net loss for fiscal year 2023, and that the volume of first-class mail fell to its lowest level since 1968.
Taxpayers have already given the Postal Service and its union workers a massive bailout. In the Postal Service Reform Act signed by President Joe Biden in 2022, the post office was allowed to wipe out $57 billion in past-due liabilities and eliminate another $50 billion in payments due over the next 10 years.
All four members of the Granite State delegation voted for that legislation, which cost taxpayers more than $100 billion.
Consolidating mail sorting plants is part of Postmaster DeJoy’s 10-year plan to make the Postal Service solvent. If Shaheen and her fellow legislators get their way and force the Manchester facility to continue operating at current levels, what’s their plan to end the billion-dollar losses at the Postal Service?
NHJournal asked all four members of the delegation that question. They declined to respond.
“Sens. Shaheen and Hassan and Reps. Kuster and Pappas are wrong – every USPS facility should be subject to evaluation and review to ensure that the agency keeps costs under control for taxpayers and consumers,” said David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a consumer watchdog group. “An agency or business with losses in the billions needs to be ready to make painful cuts.”
But Dana Colletti, New Hampshire president of the American Postal Workers Union, rejected any proposed reductions in staff or consolidation of facilities. Cutting spending is not the way to fix the post office, he said.
“The answer is never a reduction in service. It would always be to improve service,” Colletti told NHJournal.
Asked how the USPS could continue to operate while losing $6.5 billion a year and with revenues declining, Coletti simply responded, “It’s a national institution.”
There are money-saving steps the agency can take, like ditching its expensive electric vehicle push, Williams said. The USPS committed to buy 66,000 electric delivery trucks last year.
“The USPS can also reduce red ink by halting costly electric vehicle purchases and ending the cross-subsidization of packages, money orders, and money-losing pilot programs. A fiscally healthier USPS would have more than enough resources to fund distribution centers and post offices that actually serve consumers,” Williams said.