Millions of Americans would no longer get mail delivered to their door but would go to communal or curbside boxes instead, under a proposed law.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform debated Wednesday a bill to direct the U.S. Postal Service to convert 1.5 million addresses annually — 15 million over the next decade — to the less costly, but also less convenient delivery method.
“I think it’s a lousy idea,” said Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts. He was joined by some other lawmakers in saying it wouldn’t work in urban areas where there’s no place on city streets to put banks of so-called “cluster boxes” that have compartments for multiple homes. Under the proposal, waivers could be given to people with disabilities who have difficulty leaving their homes, and people who still want door delivery could pay extra for it — something Lynch derided as “a delivery tax.”
The measure falls far short of comprehensive reform most officials agree is needed to solve the postal service’s financial problems. Republican committee chairman Darrell Issa of California acknowledged that at the outset but said it “provides an interim opportunity to achieve some significant cost savings.”
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