Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Sen. Claire McCaskill unveiled her plan to protect rural communities across the country from losing their post offices.

Sen. McCaskill, who helped win the current moratorium on post office closures late last year, is introducing an amendment which would bar the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from closing rural post offices during the next two years. Thereafter, the USPS could only close a rural post office if strict criteria are met — including that seniors who rely on the post office to receive life-saving prescription drugs would have the same or substantially similar service.

Under McCaskill’s plan, the USPS would be prohibited from closing rural post offices at any time in the next two years, while other postal reforms are put in place to shore up the USPS finances without harming rural communities. Under McCaskill’s amendment, after the two-year moratorium expires, rural post offices will still be shielded from closures, unless the USPS can meet all of the following strict criteria:

• Seniors and persons with disabilities would receive the same or substantially similar service, including access to prescription medication sent through the mail.

• Jobs and businesses in the community would not suffer economic loss, and, the economic loss to the community resulting from the closure would not exceed the savings obtained by the Postal Service.

• The area served by the post office has access to wired broadband Internet service.

• And, the next nearest post office is no more than 10 miles driving distance, using roads with year-round access.