WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Postal Service, at the behest of 15 Democratic U.S. senators, said Tuesday it would hold off closing any facilities for five months.
The moratorium, which will run until May 15, is meant to give Congress more time to enact postal reform legislation, a release issued by the senators stated. Postal Service officials will use the time to further study the impact of proposed closures and solicit community input.
The Postal Service is considering the elimination of door-to-door overnight delivery, and closing up to 3,700 mostly rural post offices and 252 mail processing centers, as it searches for ways to wipe out billions of dollars in red ink.
The senators have expressed concern about the loss of jobs and reduction in postal service.
"There is no doubt that the Postal Service as we know it today has to adapt, but I think a better solution exists," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., adding that dozens of rural post offices and nine mail processing centers could be shut down in his state with an accompanying loss of about 1,800 jobs.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., said the moratorium gives Congress "the breathing room it needs to enact comprehensive postal reform to protect universal service while ensuring the postal service will succeed in the 21st century."