Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, took to the Senate floor today to blast the U.S. Postal Service.
That in itself was not surprising; many members of Congress are unhappy with the agency’s recently unveiled plans to close or consolidate more than 220 mail processing plants. What’s noteworthy is not so much what Collins said, but how she said it—criticizing Postmaster General Pat Donahoe in sharply personal terms, according to a transcript released by her office.
“I find myself in a quandary, one created by the Postmaster General himself as he shifts from plan to plan, from negotiation to negotiation,” Collins concluded. “This makes it extraordinarily difficult for those of us who want to save the historic Postal Service so it can continue to be a vital American institution for generations to come.”
And in delivering the speech, she toned it down somewhat from the prepared text, in which she questioned whether postal leaders (and by extension, Donahoe) are proceeding in good faith.
On postal issues, Collins is not just any lawmaker; she’s the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a co-sponsor of legislation that would give the mail carrier billions of dollars in financial relief. Lately, however, she’s been critical of the Postal Service for putting a Maine processing plant on the closure list.
A USPS spokesman had no comment. The Senate bill is already under fire from Democrats who want to use it to block large-scale mail plant closings for at least four years. A Collins spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a question late this afternoon from FedLine on whether the senator has made a decision about joining them.