COUNCIL BLUFFS — Sen. Tom Harkin was among the 62 U.S. senators who approved a bill Wednesday to help the struggling U.S. Postal Service — but more can be done, the Iowa Democrat said.
“I'm disappointed the bill wasn't further strengthened,” Harkin said Thursday during a telephone press conference.
The bill will cut workers' compensation benefits and force a transition from door-to-door delivery to curbside delivery in some areas. It also would cap executive pay for high-ranking postal officials and delay the elimination of Saturday service for at least two years.
What is really needed, Harkin said, are ways to increase postal revenue. For example, he said, rural post offices could set up shop in convenience stores. Retired postal workers could be encouraged to work a few hours weekly to avoid closing smaller offices, he said. Years ago, people could put money in postal savings accounts, which no longer exist.
Iowa's other U.S. senator, Chuck Grassley, also gave his nod to the bill.
“Unless we help the Postal Service cut costs, the borrowing authority of the Postal Service will run out in the fall, and it will be unable to make payroll,” he said.
“I voted for the bill, even if imperfect, to address a looming crisis now and avoid either a disruption in mail service or a taxpayer bailout, both of which would hurt the economy and take money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans,” Grassley said.