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Today, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger toured the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Richmond Processing and Distribution Center with U.S. Representative A. Donald McEachin (VA-4) to meet with USPS employees, discuss the impact of COVID-19 and recent operational changes, and learn about plans for an anticipated increase in mail volume this fall.
Last month, Spanberger cosponsored and helped pass the Delivering for America Act, legislation that would reverse changes implemented by U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that resulted in mail delivery delays in Virginia and across the country, curtailing overtime for USPS employees, removing blue mailboxes, and eliminating sorting machines.
“In recent months, my office has received more than a thousand survey responses from Central Virginians who rely on USPS to receive prescription drugs, fill customer orders and complete paperwork for their small business, send paychecks to employees, pay bills and mortgages, and vote safely. I thank the employees at the Richmond Processing and Distribution Center for the vital role they play in ensuring that correspondence, commerce, and information can flow freely through our district’s communities,” said Spanberger. “I’ve repeatedly pushed back against Postmaster General DeJoy’s attempts to harm USPS employees, restrict delivery, and slow down sorting. Today, I got a ground-level view of how these changes have been impacting facilities in Virginia and across the country. As we approach an election with a high anticipated rate of participation by mail – and we continue to see more and more families, veterans, and seniors relying on USPS during the COVID-19 pandemic – I will continue to work with USPS partners in Virginia’s Seventh District to ensure that we are defending this institution at the federal level and strengthening it for our local communities.”
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Postal Service has served as a critical lifeline for all Americans, working diligently to provide essential services and deliver medical supplies, legal and financial documents, absentee and mail-in ballots and personal correspondence to every community in Virginia and across the nation,” said McEachin. “In light of recent reports detailing sweeping, operational changes at USPS that have slowed mail delivery, we must maintain the American people’s trust and confidence in the USPS to provide these important essential services. I am pleased to have strong partners like Rep. Spanberger in the fight to preserve the strength and integrity of one of our nation’s most prized and long-standing federal institutions.”
In August 2020, Spanberger cosponsored and passed the Delivering for America Act, which would prohibit and reverse any operational changes to the USPS impacting mail delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide $25 billion for pandemic response efforts. Additionally, Spanberger launched a survey to gather information from constituents about any mail delays they were experiencing. The survey garnered more than 1,100 responses and Central Virginians have shared stories about delays to everything from prescription drugs to mail-order supplies.
Spanberger cosponsored and voted for the bipartisan USPS Fairness Act, which would repeal the current requirement that USPS annually prepay future retirement health benefits. She has also supported several resolutions to defend the practice of 6-day mail service, protect the USPS from privatization, and ensure door delivery for all residential and commercial customers.
In rural areas of Virginia’s Seventh District, the USPS is particularly vital. Many private mail carriers hand off items to USPS for the final few miles of a delivery, because they do not see the business incentive to extend all the way to rural addresses.
The Richmond Processing and Distribution Center operates 24/7, and handles the sorting and dispatch of all inbound and outbound mail going to and from local post offices and collection boxes in Central Virginia. During the tour, Spanberger and McEachin spoke with senior plant manager Deshon Scott-Hopwood about how COVID-19 has impacted the plant and received a status update on decommissioned USPS equipment.