This vote was on an amendment that would have repealed a law barring the use of mailboxes for anything other than official U.S. mail.
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 ended what he called the “mailbox monopoly” – the law barring anyone other than the U.S. Postal Service from leaving packages in a mailbox.
Sen. Paul argued that homeowners are the rightful owners of their mailboxes, and that they should be free to decide who can use them.
“If you put something in a mailbox without the permission of the U.S. Postal Service, if your child puts a birthday invitation in a mailbox, it can be a $5,000 fine. If an organization puts something in a mailbox other than through the Postal Service, it is a $10,000 fine,” Sen. Paul said. “My amendment would grant individual owners of mailboxes the right to make decisions about their mailboxes… It seems to me a fundamentally American concept to control access to your own mailbox.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who opposed Sen. Paul’s amendment, argued that it would create confusion and jeopardize the security and privacy of mail. It would also harm rural Americans, she said.
“If you repeal the mailbox monopoly, you will leave rural America behind,” Sen. Collins said. “There will be plenty of competition in large cities, but who will be left to serve rural America? Only the Postal Service. And that will further drive up its costs because it will be losing customers.”
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 repeal a law barring the use of mailboxes for anything other than official U.S. mail.