Sen. Smith wants answers about Postal Service changes

[anvplayer video=”5063135″ station=”998122″]

Postmaster General Louis Dejoy says the U.S. Postal Service was on an unsustainable financial path until he implemented operational changes that took effect this week. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minnesota, says the changes are setting back postal service back to 1970s levels.

"This is the slowest that mail delivery has been in about 50 years and it is unacceptable," Smith said today after sending a letter to the postmaster general. "I’m asking Postmaster Dejoy to respond to this concern that we have and to roll back these changes and at the very least explain to us the impact he thinks it’s going to have on Americans and Minnesotans."

The U.S. Postal Service changed First Class delivery standard in many areas from two to three days to five days and also cut back many post office hours as part of a financial overhaul. The USPS lost $87 billion over the past 14 years.

"To be blunt we are not structured properly and we have fallen out of step with the market that we serve," Dejoy said in a video message posted last March about the changes to take effect this month. "It is a path to financial sustainability and service excellence. It elevates every aspect of our organization."

He says the changes could change the billions in losses to a net positive income within three years.

But in a letter to Dejoy this month Smith and three other Senators criticized the moves.

"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," the letter says. "To date, we believe that your justification of these changes and the associated impacts has been insufficient."

The letter calls for Dejoy to respond to the letter with what the USPS plans to do to monitor the impact on the groups they believe will be hurt the most.

A spokesperson for the USPS says they won’t have a comment until they respond directly to the senators.