Stauber unveils legislation to improve rural mail delivery in Minnesota

U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) on May 31 proposed a bicameral, bipartisan bill aimed at rectifying ongoing issues at a postal office in rural Minnesota. 

“Rural Minnesotans rely heavily on mail delivery and any disruption in this service is unacceptable because it can have a detrimental impact on people’s businesses, livelihoods, and health,” Rep. Stauber said. “The USPS has been having problems for a while and I have repeatedly asked their leadership to fix these issues, but my requests seem to fall on deaf ears. Enough is enough.”

The Rural Mail Delivery Improvement Act, H.R. 8589 would require the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to implement all the recommendations made by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) following its audit of the Bemidji, Minn., Post Office. 

The OIG audited the Bemidji Post Office during the week of Dec. 12, 2023, following concerns expressed by community members and postal employees in the area. According to the audit report, the OIG found 78,948 pieces of delayed mail in the mail processing area attributed to the lack of an adequate training program for staff.

“I have been deeply concerned by the reports about postal issues in Bemidji and Greater Minnesota,” said Rep. Stauber. “Decisive action must be taken immediately to improve the efficiency and reliability of mail delivery, which is why I am proud to introduce legislation requiring USPS to enact all five of the recommendations made by the OIG after their comprehensive audit of the Bemidji Post Office.”

In its subsequent review, the USPS disagreed with two of the five recommendations made in the OIG’s audit, according to the congressman’s staff.

If enacted, H.R. 8589 would require USPS to implement all five of the recommendations from the OIG for decreasing instances of delayed mail, improving staffing, and training, according to the congressional record bill summary.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who sponsored the identical bill in the Senate, called for the original OIG report, which she said “confirmed significant delays and service disruptions for those who rely on the Bemidji Post Office.”

“That’s why Rep. Stauber and I are leading bipartisan legislation that requires the Postal Service to act on all of the Inspector General’s recommendations, which will improve operations for Bemidji residents, those in the surrounding communities and beyond,” she said.