Wednesday, March 30, 2011

McCain Amendment on Rural Service Explained

Trying to understand legislative language is hard as often a bill may only change a few words or a sentence, leaving it up to the reader to understand what changes.  The paragraph below shows the changes that Senator John McCain wants to make to the section of the Tile 39 U.S.C. that describe public policy regarding rural post offices.  The changes are included in amendment No 250 to S.493 which reauthorizes a number of Small Business Administration programs.

Section 101

(b)The Postal Service shall provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities, and small towns where post offices are not self-sustaining. No small post office shall be closed solely for operating at a deficit, it being It is the specific intent of the Congress that effective postal services be insured to residents of both urban and rural communities.

The changes to this paragraph give the Postal Service more flexibility in closing post offices.  Most importantly it allows the Postal Service to close a retail location if it is losing money.  The amendment removes any special protection that rural, Postal Service staffed, Post Offices may have in current law.

 It may also give the Postal Service more flexibility in providing delivery services as postal services may describe everything from the sale of postage to the delivery of a a mail or parcel.  It may also give the Postal Service some flexibility in defining service standards for rural communites.

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