Heinrich, Luján Warn New U.S. Postal Service Changes Will Slow Deliveries, Harm New Mexicans

U.S. SENATE News:

WASHINGTON (Oct. 8, 2021) – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) are warning the nation’s top Postal official that new U.S. Postal Service (USPS) changes will cause mail delivery to become the slowest it’s been in 50 years, harming service to those for which mail service is often a “lifeline”.

In a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Senators Heinrich and Luján, joined by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), pushed for answers on a newly-implemented USPS plan that will allow first class mail delivery to take up to five days, significantly longer than the current two-to-three days. The lawmakers say the changes will mean mail delivery is slower now than in the 1970s.

In the letter to Postmaster DeJoy, the lawmakers express that the USPS provides an essential service to all Americans, but disadvantaged groups including senior citizens, people with disabilities, veterans, and rural and Tribal communities rely even more on timely and affordable services from the USPS.

The senators wrote, “These groups use the USPS to fill prescriptions, pay bills, file taxes, vote, and conduct other essential business. Our constituents are concerned that longer delivery times will result in late payment fees, days without medication, and other serious consequences. Particularly for rural and Tribal communities, the USPS is a service that cannot be replaced or supplemented by other providers.”

Sen. Heinrich is the lead sponsor of the Delivering Envelopes Judiciously On-time Year-round Act (DeJoy Act), which was introduced in May 2021.

The DeJoy Act would prevent changes that negatively impact delivery standards within the USPS and would block USPS from moving forward with a new 10-year plan that weakens the agency’s abilities to efficiently deliver mail, keeping standards established on Jan. 1, 2021.

Read the full text of the letter below or by clicking here.

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy,

We write to share our concerns regarding the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) recent changes to first-class mail services. These changes, a part of the Delivering for America Strategic Plan, will directly affect customers with longer delivery times and increased costs. While we respect your desire to overcome budget shortfalls and the importance of the long-term fiscal stability of the USPS, we are concerned that modified service standards will disproportionately affect those for whom the Postal Service is a lifeline—the elderly, disabled people, veterans, and rural and Tribal communities. To date, we believe that your justification of these changes and the associated impacts has been insufficient.

As of October 1, 2021, first class mail delivery times went from two or three days to between two and five days, depending on the distance. This means that mail delivery is slower now than in the 1970s; the USPS should be striving towards improving service standards, not moving back 50 years. This lengthened delivery time will directly affect customers and potentially disrupt their use of the USPS as an essential service. Though this change has already gone into effect, the USPS has offered little insight into the impacts on customers, particularly those disadvantaged groups who rely on the Postal Service the most.

The USPS provides an essential service to all Americans, but disadvantaged groups including the elderly, disabled people, veterans, and rural and Tribal communities rely even more on timely and affordable services from the USPS. These groups use the USPS to fill prescriptions, pay bills, file taxes, vote, and conduct other essential business.

Our constituents are concerned that longer delivery times will result in late payment fees, days without medication, and other serious consequences. Particularly for rural and Tribal communities, the USPS is a service that cannot be replaced or supplemented by other providers. As the federal representatives of many of the aforementioned communities, we ask that you provide a thorough and transparent assessment of the impact of service standard changes on our constituents.

We ask that you respond to the following questions regarding the service standard changes to first class mail services no later than November 5, 2021:

Has USPS conducted a thorough review of the impact of service standard changes on the elderly, disabled people, veterans, or rural and Tribal communities?

If so, please provide an explanation of the expected impacts on these communities. If not, does the USPS intend to track the impact of the changes as implemented on these groups?

Does USPS plan to monitor the impact of service standard changes on the overall goals of the Delivering for America Strategic Plan? If the changes do not help to achieve the desired goals, does USPS plan to return to the previous service standards?

Will the delivery times for distances over 930 miles disproportionately affect rural areas?

Will the service standard changes disproportionately affect any specific states or regions?

Did the USPS provide a more thorough response to the Postal Regulatory Commission’s recommendations dated July 20, 2021?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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