Ross Says Post Office Closings Delayed, Crawford To Introduce Bill

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 69 views 

Two of Arkansas’ four Congressmen are making announcements likely to play well in rural parts of the state.

Today (Tuesday, Nov. 8), Fourth District Rep. Mike Ross (D) announced on his Twitter feed that the U.S. Postal Service will “temporarily suspend” all post office closings nationwide from Nov. 19 – Jan. 2.  While no formal announcement on the moratorium has been made by USPS officials, Ross’ office has received a letter disclosing the delay.

Closures of post office facilities in Arkansas and across the country have been the source of outrage by many communities who contend that the USPS has not had a consistent plan for systematic closures. There have also been complaints that closing facilities in rural communities could impact local economies and services to citizens.

Ross declaration was followed by a media advisory from First District Rep. Rick Crawford (R), who is introducing legislation to prohibit the U.S. Postal Service from closing rural post offices that do not have “an alternative post office within eight miles accessible by public roads.”

The USPS recently announced plans to close more than 3,600 post offices, many of which are in rural parts of the country. Arkansas could lose as many as 211 local post offices as part of the downsizing plan.

Both Ross and Crawford cover districts with the largest land mass in the state and both Congressmen represent more rural parts of Arkansas.

““The First Congressional District stands to lose 100 post offices,” said Crawford. “The Protecting Our Rural Post Offices Act will make sure rural Americans keep access to postal services. Americans living in rural communities rely on their post office for medicine deliveries, social security benefits and countless other reasons. Access to postal services should not be limited to only urban areas.”

Last year, the USPS ran an estimated deficit of nearly $10 billion, according to Crawford. He contends that the massive closures planned by the federal agency would only result in a savings of $200 million a year.

“The real source of the USPS’ long term debt is soaring labor costs that make up 80% of their total costs. This must be addressed,” Crawford said.