Tester Introduces Bill to Protect Rural Postal Service, Prevent Unnecessary Consolidation of Mail Processing

5/2/24 – In response to the United States Postal Service (USPS) finalizing the decision to relocate Missoula’s Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) outgoing processing operations to Spokane, Washington, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced his Protecting Access to Rural Carriers for Every Location (PARCEL) Act – legislation to prohibit unnecessary and harmful consolidation of mail processing operations nationwide.

“The Postal Service is critical to Montana’s small businesses, seniors and veterans – and shortsighted decisions like relocating Missoula’s outgoing mail processing operations out-of-state won’t work for folks in rural America,” said Tester. “USPS leadership has failed to listen to the people of Montana time and time again, and it’s time to put a stop to their attack on service in rural America. My legislation will bring full operations back to Missoula and ensure that Postmaster DeJoy won’t be able to strip rural America of reliable service without public approval and legitimate justification ever again.”

Tester’s legislation would prohibit the consolidation of mail processing operations unless it meets the three criteria below:

  • Does not result in processing operations being relocated outside of state boundaries or harming local mail delivery.
  • A geographical review is completed, particularly examining mountain passes and the implications of moving operations.
  • Public input reflects favorably on the decision to move operations.

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion holding the USPS accountable. In February, Tester urged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to halt the United States Postal Service’s Mail Processing Facility Review that could result in the relocation of Missoula’s P&DC outgoing mail processing operations to Spokane, Washington. In March, following an initial decision to make the move permanent, and after hearing from countless veterans frustrated with USPS’s untimely delivery of prescription medications, Tester called on the USPS Board of Governors to work towards improved postal service in Montana.

In December, Tester pressed the Biden Administration to address staffing challenges and fill upcoming openings in USPS leadership with people who have experience with postal matters in rural areas. In June, following months of discussions with Big Sky Post Office stakeholders and USPS, Tester secured a $229,000 per year increase in funding for the Big Sky Post Office to support continued services in the face of the area’s rapid population growth.

In April of 2022, his Postal Service Reform Act was signed into law, which ensures long-term, reliable mail service and put the USPS on sound financial footing. He has repeatedly pushed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on USPS policy changes that have delayed mail, threatened to undermine the agency, and harmed rural America. In 2020, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the November election.

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