Lieberman asks for new moratorium on postal closings

With the clock ticking toward a shutdown of hundreds of postal facilities across the nation — and about a dozen post offices and two processing centers in Connecticut — Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., insists that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe hold off on closure plans.

Lieberman and three other senators, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Tom Carper, D-Del., have asked Donahoe to extend the moratorium on closings that is due to expire May 15 until Congress has passed a final bill to prevent the wholesale closing of facilities.

The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service says it needs to shut facilities to save money.

But the Senate approved a bill sponsored by Lieberman last week that would give the USPS more money and require it to make sure 1st class mail is delivered overnight. Lieberman and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., hopes that will save mail processing facilities in Stamford and Wallingford “from the chopping block.”

But the Republican-led House has rejected Lieberman’s bill and failed to move forward on its alternative.

Lieberman this week sent House leaders a letter asking them to act promptly so “an iconic institution” could be saved.

Meanwhile, Lieberman and the three co-sponsors of the Senate postal bill warned Donahoe to do nothing.

“We believe an attempt to proceed with the planned closures — to ‘get in under the wire’ while legislation to the contrary is being considered — would be counterproductive and would violate the clear intent of the Senate,” the senators wrote Donohoe in a letter.