VIDEO: During Senate Hearing, Rosen Blasts Postmaster General on Proposed Downsizing of Reno Mail Processing Facility  

View Video of Senator Rosen’s Questioning HERE

WASHINGTON, DC – During a hearing of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) demanded that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy finally provide detailed information about the impact of his misguided proposal to downsize and relocate mail processing operations from Reno to Sacramento, which would hurt Nevadans. Senator Rosen blasted Postmaster DeJoy for neglecting to listen to local Nevada leaders, businesses, and residents, and sounded the alarm on the negative impacts the plan will have on mail service reliability.

Last week, Senator Rosen convened a meeting with USPS executives alongside Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV-02) regarding the proposal where she denounced the lack of answers and transparency surrounding the decision to move mail processing to Sacramento, CA. She also recently sent a bipartisan letter expressing serious concern about the proposed relocation of mail processing in Reno. Additionally, Rosen joined a group of over 20 Senators in a letter urging Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to stop any changes or relocations to USPS processing facilities that would result in job losses and further degrade mail delivery performance, especially in rural states. 

Below is an excerpt from Senator Rosen’s questioning: 

Senator Rosen: I’m going to quote you [Inspector General] Hull, “every location has a story.” You just said that. So I’m going to talk about the story of Reno, Nevada, northern Nevada, Mr. DeJoy. 

I’m extremely concerned about your proposal to downsize the only postal processing and distribution center in northern Nevada, one of only two in my entire state. Your proposed plan includes transferring mail processing operations from Reno out of state to California, which will negatively impact mail delivery service for Nevadans. Under your proposal, if one of my constituents in Reno were to mail a birthday card to her mother who lives on the other side of town, the letter’s gonna be driven 130 miles over to Sacramento, California, and then sent 130 miles back to Nevada to reach its final destination. 

And so I’d like to understand what analysis you undertook to conclude that moving mail processing from Reno to Sacramento would actually benefit Nevadans. Your staff has continued to assert that your plan won’t undermine delivery standards for Nevada, but they haven’t been able to explain how this is possible or provide me [with] any of the data you’ve collected. And per what you just said, your team, they came and met with us, but they have not engaged with stakeholders in Nevada. I have talked to every one of our city councils. They have yet to receive data. And Senator Cortez Masto, myself, and Congressman Amodei didn’t receive it either. 

So I’d like to ask you a few yes or no questions, please, because my time is limited. Mr. DeJoy, the postal service standard for receiving and delivering mail in the Reno area is two days. The postal service is already failing to meet this standard with outbound mail and service in Reno currently averaging about four days. I point this out because in order to take local mail from Reno to Sacramento and back to Reno, as you propose, your trucks will need to go through the Donner Pass. I hope you’re familiar with that. It’s on 1-80. It’s the only way to get through Reno to Sacramento, which is subject to some of the most extreme weather conditions in the contiguous United States with over 33 feet of snow annually, 100 mile per hour winds, and treacherous conditions during wildfire season. So Mr. DeJoy, yes or no, do you happen to know how many days per year on average the Donner Pass is closed due to extreme weather conditions?

Postmaster DeJoy: Why would I know that?

Senator Rosen: Well, you’re the Postmaster General, and you’re saying that you’re going to go over this. So, let me tell you. There were 15 road closures for over 37 days of closures just last winter alone. 

So, yes or no, before you proposed your plan to move out of Reno, did you collect data on the potential impact to mail service from severe weather conditions on Donner Pass? Yes or no, please.

Postmaster DeJoy: Yes. Within the organization…

Senator Rosen: So can I have that data? Your team has refused to give that to us. We are the oversight committee. I believe that the United States Congress has a right to this information.

Postmaster DeJoy: I will give you the data that we have. I’ll get with the team and send you the data that we have.

Senator Rosen: Thank you. So, how do you plan to get the mail – maybe you want to tell us – how you plan to get the mail from Reno to Sacramento and back to Reno when there’s only one route – I say one route – I-80, to take that 260-mile round trip when it’s closed on an average of 37 days per year?

Postmaster DeJoy: Let me start with the fact that […] we are investing significantly in Reno facilities and repurpose it for what we feel is the modern-day need for the postal service. The mail that we’re moving, only 10 percent of it…

Senator Rosen: So you want to sacrifice 10 percent of my folks in rural Nevada. I have rural Nevadans, veterans, and seniors that still rely on this. That 10 percent, if you’re in the 10 percent, it’s everything. So a standard contingency plan here, Mr. DeJoy, is not going to work. 

The extreme conditions in Sierra Nevada mountains require you to undertake an extensive analysis to ensure all Nevadans, all Nevadans, even that 10 percent, get their mail on time. You don’t get to sacrifice those living in my rural areas or subject to harsher weather in the name of cost savings. The postal service has an obligation to deliver to everyone. 

Let me ask you this. Before developing this plan to downsize the Reno facility and transfer operations to California, did you analyze how your proposed plan would impact Nevada seniors, and can you provide me that data here today? Yes or no, please.

Postmaster DeJoy: We have a process to analyze the movement of mail.

Senator Rosen: Have you done one that would impact my Nevada seniors?

Postmaster DeJoy: We treat every delivery point the same.

Senator Rosen: Do you have one for Nevada seniors? So you didn’t look at how it would impact my seniors. That’s unacceptable. If you did, I expect to see that data as soon as possible and hopefully by the close of business today, please. 

I have to assume the reason I don’t have the data is because you instructed your staff not to provide it to me when we requested it last month.

Postmaster DeJoy: I think that’s very inaccurate and presumptuous.

Senator Rosen: It wasn’t provided to me when I asked for it last month, and it wasn’t provided when we asked for it last week.

Postmaster General: I didn’t direct my staff to do anything with regard. 

Senator Rosen: Fair enough.

Postmaster General: In fact, you’ve been briefed many times and your staff has been briefed many times.

Senator Rosen: So what about the impact of your plan on Nevada’s veterans? We have over 225,000 veterans in Nevada. Yes or no, did you collect data on the impact to Nevada veterans?

Postmaster DeJoy: Wherever the veterans live, it should have no impact…

Senator Rosen: So, will you provide me that data? Will you provide me the data? Because if you didn’t have it… 

Postmaster DeJoy: We can provide our plan as to how the mail will be transported.

Senator Rosen: So you didn’t specifically see how it would impact Nevada veterans. That’s actually unacceptable to me as well. Again, I asked for his information over a month ago.

Postmaster DeJoy: If a veteran lives at a delivery point in Nevada…

Senator Rosen: Nevada. It’s Nevada, sir. Please say it correctly. It’s Nevada.

Postmaster DeJoy: If a veteran lives at a delivery point, our intention is to give them their mail in a timely service.

Senator Rosen: You’re not giving them in [a] timely service now. So what makes you think it’s going to go in four days? I hope to see the data by the end of the day, please. 

Mr. DeJoy, an inspector general audit showed the postal service implemented the same changes to a data processing and distribution center in Virginia and service performance was not even included as a measure of success. So this time around, did you conduct any analysis on how your proposed changes would impact mail delivery service time specifically in northern Nevada? Yes or no, please.

Postmaster DeJoy: Those are two separate operations and separate types of transactions.

Senator Rosen: So I’m assuming it’s no. So you didn’t feel you had a due diligence to understand how Nevada senior citizens, veterans, small business owners, and rural communities who depend on the post office for their lives and livelihoods…

Postmaster DeJoy: Senator, we intend to meet the service standards.

Senator Rosen: You’re not meeting it now, and you have not [provided] us the data of what you made this assessment on. I hope to see that as quickly as possible.