Senator Tom Udall Co-sponsors Bill to Strengthen U.S. Postal Service

U.S. Senator Tom Udall has announced his co-sponsorship of a bill to help preserve the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Service Protection Act would help protect rural communities from post office closures in addition to addressing the financial issues USPS is facing.  Udall signed onto the bill after hearing from constituents in rural communities across New Mexico who expressed their concerns about the process and the devastating effect closures would have on communities and businesses.

“USPS is in a tough financial spot today.  Changes need to be made as the postal service adjusts to a digital world,” Udall said on the call.  “This is an opportunity to strengthen the postal service, rather than cut services to rural communities and slash nearly 100,000 jobs.  The bill would put in place commonsense fixes that address both the long and short-term needs of the postal services.”

The Postal Service Protection Act would:

  • Allow the postal service to recover the overpayments it made to its retirement programs;
  • Allow the postal service to seek out new revenue sources by ending the prohibition on non-postal services, such as notary services and shipping beer and wine;
  • Create a blue-ribbon commission composed of entrepreneurs, representatives of labor and small businesses to provide recommendations on how the postal service can generate new revenue to succeed in the 21st century;
  • Give the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) binding authority to prevent closures based on the effect on a community or employees;

In July, the USPS announced the potential closure of more than 50 post offices in New Mexico.  Udall and Senator Jeff Bingaman raised concerns about the proposed closures in a meeting with the Postmaster General and in a follow-up letter.

Also on the radio call, Udall discussed a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through the middle of December and his push for full funding of nuclear waste cleanup as part of an Energy and Water Appropriations bill.  In addition, he responded to questions on recommendations from the Super Committee tasked with balancing the budget, which are expected to be released at the end of the week. Click here to download the full audio of the press call.

Mitt Romney is “Clueless” on Veterans’ Issues

Speaking to a group of veterans—on Veterans Day—Mitt Romney said he would move the highly successful veterans’ health care program into the private sector via a voucher system. It was a moment, writes the VoteVets.org’s Ashwin Madia in the Huffington Post, that “tells us that when it comes to veterans, Mitt Romney is absolutely clueless.”

Madia writes:

“For Romney to even hint that private companies would care for veterans at the same cost the government does is insanity. A voucher would be absolutely worthless in the private market. And there aren’t going to be private companies falling all over themselves to care for incredibly expensive wounds, like for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). So market competition driving down costs is out the window.

“So what would the result be? Likely what we see with many voucher systems—a total breakdown of the public system, and wide inequities in the quality of care. A slippery slope towards complete privatization of the program. Veterans struggling to find care within a profit-based system. America’s promise to provide quality care to every single veteran would be broken. Thanks, President Romney.”

November 15: News Roundup

Herman Cain isn’t sure where he stands on Libya, fumbling in an editorial interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. There’s more at the Journal-Sentinel.

Mitt Romney flip-flops again. This time on ‘waterboarding.’ There’s more at the National Journal.

Republican field backs torture. There’s more at the Washington Post.

The House Financial Services Chair, Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus caught in insider trading. There’s more at ThinkProgress.

Rick Perry slides in new Washington Post-ABC Poll. There’s more at the Washington Post.

Despite tough-talk from Republicans, a new report show the reality of immigration from Mexico to be an non-issue. There’s more at the Los Angeles Times.

Texas accepted $57 Million in Federal dollars for the Affordable Care Act it says it opposes. There’s more at ThinkProgress.

Medicaid town hall fights Susana Martinez tax on working people. There’s more at Democracy for New Mexico.

In an editorial today, the New York Times says Herman Cain is unfit to be President. There’s more at the New York Times.