Sen. Ben Nelson joined a call Thursday for a moratorium on closing a handful of mail processing centers and 90 post offices in Nebraska, until Congress can finish working on reforms. Faced with sharp losses the U.S. Postal Service proposes to do away with overnight mail and close Nebraska processing centers in Grand Island and Lincoln, as well as nearly 100 more across the country.
The losses are due to increased use of email and text messages as well as rising health care costs.
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe also wants to close 3,700 mostly rural post offices across the country and do away with Saturday mail delivery.
An increase in postage prices is planned regardless.
The Senate passed a reform bill a week ago, but a key House committee leader -- Rep. Darrel Issa -- has not set a date for his Oversight and Government Reform committee to advance a companion bill to the full House.
Four senators who wrote the Senate reform bill sent a letter Tuesday to Donahoe, asking him to hold off on closures until Congress finishes the job. Thirty-eight more senators joined the call on Thursday.
We are deeply concerned that the closing of these postal facilities prior to postal reform legislation being enacted would be devastating to communities around the country, the senators wrote.
Nelson said local post offices "play a special role in our communities, keeping us connected to our friends and families, and keeping businesses connected to their customers. They are an important part of our economy, serving every city, suburb and small town in Nebraska.
In addition to Nelson, the letter was signed by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Robert Casey (D-PA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jon Tester (D-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Tim Johnson (D-SD).