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Saving the Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service is as American as founding father Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster General. Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution empowers Congress “to establish post offices.”

Yet today rising costs and declining first-class mail volume threaten the USPS’s survival. Saturday delivery may be cut. Other proposals call for layoffs of 120,000 postal workers. More than 3,500 post offices could be closed, including many in rural and small town Missouri and Kansas. In Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is targeting the USPS for privatization.

A crisis in September was caused by a 2006 law requiring the USPS to put aside $5.5 billion annually to prefund retiree benefits for 75 years, a requirement applying to no other private or government entity. Several bills are pending, including H.R. 1351, which would eliminate the prefunding burden.

Do you depend on the mail to receive prescriptions and bills, to send utility payments or Hallmark cards, or to vote? Then contact your representatives: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), www.house.gov/cleaver, or Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), yoder.house.gov. You can even send them a letter… at least for now.

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