I rise today to discuss the financial challenges facing our Postal Service and our need to ensure that it remains a viable resource for our country.

The American Postal Service was created over two centuries ago as a function of the federal government, acknowledged in the United States Constitution.

In those last 220 years, way we send mail has changed dramatically. You no longer need a stamp or envelope. You can shoot an e-mail, sign onto Facebook.

No matter who you are or where you live, odds are that the post office plays a role in your life. Seniors rely on the postal service to receive their medications, businesses rely on it to shift ship and receive goods. Countless jobs hinge on it.

No matter how far we've come with technology in this digital age, there are some things that simply can't be sent by e-mail and that is why reliable, timely mail service is something that all Americans should be able to count on.

I have heard from numerous people in my state about the negative impacts of the closure of certain post offices or mail-processing facilities would have on their communities. I have heard from state and local leaders about the impact of closing the mail-processing facilities in Duluth and Bemidji. I have heard from farmers who get their goods and ship their products through those mail-processing centers, and that's why I've worked with Senators Sanders and roughly 25 of my colleagues in the Senate, including senator Durbin, one-fourth of the entire U.S. Senate to negotiate changes to this original bill.

I want to thank Chairman Lieberman and Senators Carper for their greater leadership. I am glad about some of the changes in the substitute amendment that would in fact keep at a minimum 100 mail-processing plants that are currently scheduled to close and would remain open for at least three years. Overnight delivery standards in regional areas will be protected. A large number of rural post offices that are being studied for closure will remain open.

 I am a cosponsor of the amendment to the legislation which would provide important safeguards before closing mail-processing facilities, and I am also cosponsored the McCaskill-Merkely amendment thald that would establish a two-year moratorium on closing rural posts and recognize the concerns of rural residents.

There is no doubt, Madam President, that changes need to be made to the postal service to make it more competitive in the digital world. I think a lot of those changes are contained in this substitute amendment. We can even make it stronger and I strongly believe that we can reach a balance that makes necessary reforms while maintaining the consistent service that Americans have come to rely on. I yield the floor.