Floor Updates

Manchin, Merkley, Brown-OH

Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill (S. 1925)

Apr 19 2012

12:12 PM

Senator Manchin: (10:44 AM)
  • Spoke on a Manchin amendment to the Postal Reform bill.
    • SUMMARY "Today I would like to encourage all of my colleagues, to vote for an amendment I have offered that would prohibit any postal facility from being closed for two years. While the Postal Service figures out better ways, working with the Post Service unions, to get their financial house in order. I have offered this amendment because I've heard from my constituents, we simply cannot afford to let these facilities close in the communities that need them most The bill that we have before us would propose to close 3,700 rural post offices. I'm sure many in your own state. For a total savings of $200 million, a figure that is less than 1% of the Postal Service's $20 billion and is roughly equivalent to the amount that we spend in one day in the Afghanistan war ... And we're going to close 3,700 post offices for that one-day savings of a war in Afghanistan. While achieving very little in terms of the Postal Service' bottom line, this proposal would have an enormous impact on people all over the united states of America, including the people in West Virginia that would lose up to 150 of their post offices. This bill would also lower delivery standards by allowing the Postal Service to go to five-day service and eliminating door delivery and it would add to our national deficit. In short, I am not sure what exactly we are hoping to accomplish with this piece of legislation. Already in West Virginia we know for certain that three of our mail processing facilities will be closing ... The impact those closures will have on the bottom line is minimal but the impact to those communities is widely felt and deep. Rather than making drastic cuts on the front lines, the Postal Service needs to consider a different approach to getting their financial house in order. I truly believe that we can save the Postal Service without making cuts to the services our communities rely on and the lifeline that they are and are needed. And without adding to our enormous deficit. We can work together on a way to keep our postal facilities open. Expand services that raise revenue and eliminate enormous bonuses for executive and sustain six-day-a-week delivery services."

Senator Merkley: (11:16 AM)
  • Spoke on the Postal Reform bill.
    • SUMMARY "I want to focus on this particular aspect: that today we must modify the bill that is before us so that we do not end up destroying our rural post offices that are the heart of the communities that they serve. It was a few months ago that I was out in eastern Oregon, and I got a message that the Postmaster General had put on the list for closure 41 rural community post offices, and this was just in my state of Oregon. I, in the next couple days, dropped by several of those rural community post offices. I talked to the Postmaster. I talked to citizens who were nearby. And I quickly got feedback on the destruction that would happen in that rural community if we don't address this in this bill. Specifically there will be a huge impact on the small businesses that use the post offices to receive orders and to ship orders on a daily basis. Those businesses will not be able to function if they have to drive 30, 40, 50, 60 miles round-trip each day to pick up orders and to ship products. Huge waste of time, often on dangerous, windy, narrow roads. A huge additional cost. A huge distraction from the work that they do on their farms or on their ranches. In short, this will shut down a lot of small businesses. Or those small businesses will have to move. They'll move to larger towns. And when they move, the retail dollars move. It won't be long before that small store at the heart of that town shuts down. And in addition, I heard from seniors who receive their medicines through the mail. And in some cases, they're controlled medicines that they have to sign for. They have to be there in person. They can't simply receive them through a mailbox, if you will. They certainly are often - that is, our seniors - not always in the shape that they can drive daily to see if a medicine that they're waiting for has arrived, that they would have to go 40, 50, 60 miles round-trip to check and see, did their medicines come in. Those folks start thinking about , well, maybe I can't live in this rural community anymore. May have I need to move to a larger town that has a post office. If you go to a small town and you ask them, what is the most essential component for the success of their small town, their small businesses , they're going to tell you the rural post office. Without that, they're pretty much out of business. So how is it we spend so much time here talking about jobs and economic development and small businesses as the factory of job creation, and yet we have a bill before us that basically cuts the heart out of the small-town economy."

Senator Brown-OH: (12:05 PM)
  • Spoke on the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization bill.
    • SUMMARY "In 2011, there were 38,000 reported cases of domestic violence in Ohio. Of course, many, many more than that, thousands more we think that went unreported. Women live, as do children, with fear and pain. These women live with the fear and pain of their partner's physical and emotional abuse. It's because of the Violence Against Women Act that they have somewhere to turn. It's because of that law that when they do, they have the help to escape violent relationships and the support to seek legal representation when they need to. It's why authorizing the Violence Against Women Act is so important. Women's shelters, domestic violence centers clearly would have trouble existing without this law. These are the very organizations that connect women with legal help, emergency housing, transportation and lock services. They help with primary prevention programs so children grow up learning the importance of healthy and safe relation. And the Violence Against Women Act is about assisting law enforcement officials who place themselves in danger when they investigate and prosecute cases of abuse and violence. Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act would invest in state grant programs like the grants to encourage arrest policies and enforcement protection order programs that help law enforcement respond to assault crimes. And the bill provides tools for law enforcement, victims' service providers and court personnel to identify better and manage high-risk offenders and prevent domestic violence homicides. Reauthorizing the violence against women act is long overdue."