13 News Now: Bipartisan group of Congressional delegation from Virginia calls on USPS to address delays, disruptions

13 NEWS NOW, ANGELIQUE ARINTOK

Delays and disruptions within the United States Postal Service (USPS) are prompting members of Congress to demand action. The two U.S. Senators from Virginia and a bipartisan group of representatives in the House are calling for change.

Their plea comes after problems with mail recently emerged in Central Virginia. Lawmakers told 13News Now that the issues are trickling down to people in Hampton Roads. 

Among those leading the bipartisan push for the USPS to take corrective actions are U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and U.S. Reps. Jennifer McClellan, Rob Wittman, Abigail Spanberger, Jen Kiggans and Bob Good. 

They said their concerns grew after getting word about a report from the Richmond Veterans Affairs (VA) with “alarming consequences.”

According to a Jan. 30 letter penned by the elected officials to USPS officials, hundreds of colon cancer screening test samples recently didn’t make it to the Richmond VA Medical Center in time. Some samples apparently dated as far back as mid-2023.

“That really is a matter of the health and wellbeing of their patients, as well as businesses that had checks that never arrived to their vendors, as well as critical medication getting to constituents,” Rep. Wittman told 13News Now in an interview on Tuesday.

According to a Facebook post, Sen. Kaine listened to people’s woes about USPS in Richmond on Friday.

Today, I met with Virginians in Richmond to hear about challenges they’re having with the USPS. These delays and…Posted by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine on Friday, February 2, 2024

Furthermore, Rep. Wittman pointed to problems emerging out of a processing and distribution facility in Henrico County. As a result, he said constituents up and down his congressional district are feeling the impacts.

Virginia’s first Congressional district includes the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, Midlothian and Poquoson.  

“We’re hearing it, too, in businesses and individuals in James City County, Poquoson and York County. So, it is having an impact,” said Rep. Wittman. “Remember, the Sandston processing and distribution center covers a wide area here in Eastern Virginia. So, yes, it’s having impacts even outside of what you would consider the Richmond area associated with Sandston.”

Like Wittman, some constituents, in Rep. Kiggans’ district are also sharing concerns. The congresswoman wrote 13News Now the following statement on Tuesday. 

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard from many people in Hampton Roads who have been impacted by the problems at the USPS Richmond Distribution Center. These issues have resulted in delays in service, loss of packages, missed bill payments, and in some cases termination of normal mail delivery. I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues in the Virginia Congressional Delegation to demand answers and transparency from the Postal Service. I look forward to their quick response and reviewing their plan of action to remedy these issues! 

In the meantime, my team is actively working to resolve issues Virginians are facing with the USPS. If you are having trouble receiving mail, finding lost packages, or more, please visit kiggans.house.gov/agencies to request help.”

Rachel Heed, a resident of Virginia Beach, said the postal service can be a hit or miss.

“It’s a little concerning when we do need to get important stuff,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Norfolk resident Brian Mackeil hasn’t seen mailing issues since the holidays. But, all in all, he hopes for resolve.

“You don’t use snail mail very often, and when you do, you need it to be dependable. If they want people to use it, they’ve got to fix it,” said Mackeil. 

“We’ve had multiple meetings with these officials. So far, we haven’t seen any resolution of the problem. We’re going to continue to be tireless and relentless in making sure the post office performs its duties,” Rep. Wittman added. 

In the letter to USPS officials, the lawmakers said USPS has recently declined requests for meetings and tours to discuss the issues.

And despite the information 13News Now obtained from Representatives Wittman and Kiggans, a spokesperson for USPS said the agency is not aware of any mail delays in Hampton Roads — adding most mail in Hampton Roads is processed at the Norfolk processing center.

https://14e0a7571aedc079060a41ebe6f96349.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html

“…Customers with questions should contact their local Post Office.

We want all our stakeholders to know under Delivering For America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan, we are maintaining universal six-day mail delivery and expanded seven-day package delivery, stabilizing our workforce, and spurring innovation to meet the needs of our modern customers. The Postal Service continues its focus on improving service reliability for the American public and business customers by modernizing the outmoded operations across the nation. We are optimizing our transportation by aligning collection and transportation operations to meet the published mailing and shipping product service standards.”

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