Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today blasted the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) indication that it will likely close the Tucson mail processing and sorting center – which Sen. John McCain supported in a letter earlier this month – as “the product of a process that was flawed from the beginning.” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe wrote to Rep. Grijalva earlier today to say the center is among the facilities that “may be consolidated” by early 2013; that letter is available at http://1.usa.gov/LgBXIG.
The March 3 McCain letter, which “strongly encourage[s]” Donahoe to move forward with the proposed Tucson closure and more than 100 others around the country, is available at http://1.usa.gov/LgwYrr. Only Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) joined McCain on the letter, which Grijalva says “throws a light on just how unusual and unpopular Sen. McCain’s position really is on this issue. When our state’s senior senator is going out of his way to shut down economic activity for his own constituents without an explanation, there’s nothing left to say except, ‘What are you thinking?’”
In contrast, Grijalva in March introduced the Defending Quality Postal Delivery for the Future Act, formally labeled H.R. 4161, which prohibits the USPS from closing or consolidating any post office or facility located in a ZIP code with a high rate of population growth as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau. That bill, which would prevent the Tucson facility’s closure, has not received a hearing from the Republican-controlled House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
When USPS officials calculated which post offices, sorting centers and other facilities would be closed, the high pace of population growth in Arizona and other quickly growing areas was not taken into consideration. Arizona has been one of the fastest-growing states in the country over the past decade.
“If this is about planning for the future, let’s really plan for the future instead of saving a penny today by costing ourselves a dollar tomorrow,” Grijalva said. “It’s easy to shake our heads and say we have to clear-cut the Postal Service to save money, but responsible lawmakers need to stop and think about how this is going to work. High-growth areas are most likely to need fast, efficient mail service down the line. Sen. McCain’s position that we’ll just have to bite the bullet is unpopular, unwise and unrealistic, and I’m proud to fight this wrong-headed closure every step of the way.”