This vote was on an amendment that would have allowed local post offices to launch pilot programs to test new approaches to mail delivery.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill that would allow the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service to take cost-saving measures. Sen. Paul’s amendment would have authorized the heads of local post offices to experiment with new ways of providing mail service – such as changing the days mail is delivered or charging for home delivery.
Sen. Paul said many postal workers had complained to him that upper management at the Postal Service was stifling attempts by local postmasters to make changes that would better serve their communities. Giving local post office managers more control would foster creativity and yield new approaches that would help solve the Postal Service’s financial problems, he said.
“I think this makes sense,” Sen. Paul said of the pilot programs. “I think we would have more innovation and get some useful ideas from our local postmasters.”
Opponents of Sen. Paul’s amendment argued that the pilot programs would “fracture” the U.S. Postal Service and erode its mission of serving all Americans.
“This amendment establishes what is essentially a privatization pilot program for the alternative delivery of mail outside of the universal service mandate of the Postal Service,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said. “I believe it would create chaos by allowing for inconsistent delivery standards across the country. It would cause cream-skimming of profitable delivery areas, and that would harm rural America.”
Sen. Paul’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 35-64. Voting “yea” were 35 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 53 Democrats and 11 Republicans. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to allow local post offices to launch pilot programs to test new approaches to mail delivery.