Senators trying to block U.S.P.S. plan to shut down processing plants

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WASHINGTON (WEAU) -- Half of the U.S. senate, including Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, wants to block a plan to shut down mail processing plants next year.

The group of senators, which includes Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter dated August 14 to the heads of a congressional committee and subcommittee on appropriations. Baldwin, a Democrat, is one of the three authors. It calls for a one-year moratorium on the U.S. Postal Service's plans to close up to 82 of the plants. They include one on Hogarth Street in Eau Claire and another in La Crosse. The Eau Claire facility's operations would move to St. Paul, Minnesota, and the workers there will be re-assigned. No jobs would be lost. The Postal Service announced in 2011 that it was considering the closures to get out from under $8,500,000,000 in debt. It also said the proposal was aimed at keeping the agency viable.

The senators said the moratorium would give Congress time to enact postal reforms they say are needed for the Postal Service to "function efficiently in the future." They go on to say that reports about the Postal Service's "supposed financial woes" are misleading, and that the Postal Service has taken in almost $1,000,000,000 more in revenue than it spent since fall 2012.

In an email to WEAU 13 News, the Postal Service said "We are disappointed by the recent effort to block our ongoing initiative to remove excess capacity from our mail processing network. It would be unfortunate if this action were to impede our current progress. A comprehensive legislative package is the most appropriate way to address our systemic business model and financial issues."

The senators want this new measure included in legislation they describe as "must-pass" to keep the government running into the fiscal year that starts October 1. You can see the senators' letter by clicking on the link on the right side of this story.

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