New Hampshire delegation introduces bill to block closure of NH’s only mail center

New Hampshire's federal delegation—including Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan as well as Congressman Chris Pappas—have introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at safeguarding state-level postal facilities. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

By Colin Booth

April 19, 2024

In a direct response to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) recent decision to reroute operations from New Hampshire’s sole mail processing center to Boston, New Hampshire’s federal delegation—including Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan as well as Congressman Chris Pappas—have introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at safeguarding state-level postal facilities.

“For months, I’ve been speaking out against the decision to move mail distribution out of Manchester, New Hampshire and the impact it will have on Granite Staters. I am deeply concerned about the Postal Service’s decision to move forward with damaging changes to mail processing, despite significant public outcry. It’s clear that the Postal Service’s decision making process is broken and needs to be fixed,” said Senator Shaheen.

The proposed Postal Operations Stay Timely and Local (POSTAL) Act seeks to prevent the closure or downgrade of processing and distribution centers if such actions would leave a state without such facilities or disrupt mail service statewide.

The decision to move the Manchester Processing and Distribution Center’s operations has drawn significant criticism from local communities, postal workers, and businesses who foresee detrimental impacts on mail reliability and local employment, as well as the federal delegation themselves.

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Sen. Hassan said this legislation is part of broader efforts to halt nationwide plans by the USPS that could potentially lead to further delays in mail delivery and the loss of postal jobs.

“Granite Staters, like many Americans, rely on the postal service for timely delivery of medication and other essential goods,” said Hassan. “The plans that the USPS has announced to close processing centers nationwide will lead to delayed mail deliveries, delayed absentee ballots, and job losses for postal employees.”

During a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing this week, Senator Hassan questioned USPS officials about their plan to centralize New Hampshire’s mail processing in Boston. She emphasized the essential role the postal service plays in the delivery of medications and other critical goods, especially for rural areas.

Congressman Pappas highlighted that the move disregarded extensive negative feedback from New Hampshire residents and could undermine community ties to the postal service. He stressed that the POSTAL Act would ensure the maintenance of essential services and protect local jobs.

“We must prioritize actions that improve mail service for the seniors, families, and businesses that rely on the U.S. Postal Service for their medications, mail, and packages. Diverting services outside a state threatens the reliability of service and local jobs,” said Pappas. “This bipartisan legislation would mitigate closures and consolidations of these facilities and protect communities’ mail service and jobs.”

The introduction of the POSTAL Act follows a history of advocacy by the New Hampshire delegation to reform the USPS and enhance its financial and structural stability, including the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act last year, which aimed to address long-standing issues within the postal system.

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

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