Key Threat to Alaska’s Bypass Mail Withdrawn in Senate
Other Alaskan Concerns Also Addressed in Marathon Vote Session
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With votes occurring on S.1789 the 21st Century Postal Service Act on the Senate floor, an amendment that could have meant a major and unprecedented change in Alaska’s postal service was withdrawn from consideration. This comes after a lengthy campaign by Senator Murkowski among her Capitol Hill colleagues, informing them of Alaska’s unique needs and infrastructure challenges.
While Senator Murkowski was encouraged by the move, she had the following remarks after the final passage of S. 1789:
“Alaska is different, but Alaska shouldn’t be charged differently for standard services. Today’s development is a positive result – but I don’t think it will be the last challenge to our bypass mail system,” said Murkowski. “I will continue to educate my colleagues about Alaska’s unique needs and solutions, and to work with all parties to ensure the efficiency of our bypass mail system.”
The bypass issue was not the only one Alaskans have been watching closely. Among the 39 amendments considered during a marathon vote session carried over from Tuesday to Wednesday, Senator Murkowski voted on:
- Rural Post Office Closures: Senator Murkowski supported extending the current moratorium on rural post office closures – which ends on May 15th – for a full year and to clarify the standards and services the USPS would have to consider before closing a rural post office. (For example: effects on seniors/disabled, access to broadband internet, year-round road access to post offices within 10 miles, and impacts to area businesses). It passed the Senate in a voice vote.
- Five Day Delivery: Senator Murkowski voted against an amendment to allow the Postal Service to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. It failed by a vote of 29-70.
- District Office to Remain in Alaska: Senator Murkowski added language into the reform bill that says the procedure to consolidate and close USPS District Offices applies only to the Continental U.S. – meaning Alaska’s District Office in Anchorage will remain in Alaska.
Background on bypass amendment withdrawal: An amendment was proposed that would have replaced the existing Senate legislation with a similar postal reform bill pending in the House of Representative including a provision that would have compelled Alaska to pay for bypass mail service – despite Alaska’s lack of roads and despite the U.S. Postal Service’s core mission of ‘universal access at universal rates’ for all Americans.