published Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker wary on Cleveland, Tenn. postal service cuts

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    In this file photo, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaks during a news conference on the debt ceiling on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Eager to prevent the threatened closure of Cleveland’s downtown post office, Mayor Tom Rowland appealed Monday to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker to spare the Broad Street office.

“We sure could use your help,” Rowland told Corker during a meeting with more than two dozen Cleveland business leaders.

Corker listened politely but offered little encouragement about removing the post office from a list of 3,700 possible closings.

“Every time a tough decision has to be made, I can’t be calling up and asking that the decision be reversed,” he said.

With the Postal Service running an $8 billion deficit and the federal government nearly $14.6 trillion in debt, Corker said Congress shouldn’t block attempts to run government more efficiently.

As a former Chattanooga mayor, Corker often aligned himself with Rowland in appealing for federal aid for their cities. But the growing federal deficit will require Uncle Sam to scale back his presence in East Tennessee, Corker said.

Corker said the ratings downgrade of U.S. Treasurys by Standard & Poor’s ratings service over the weekend “was a real embarrassment to our country.”

“Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call for us to act,” Corker said. “I do believe that four more years of President Obama continuing on the current course will be incredibly damaging to our country.”

Corker said he is eager to make the tough decisions required to cut the federal budget deficit and said he “would relish” the chance to serve on the congressional panel being formed to come up with a plan by November to cut another $1.5 trillion from the U.S. debt over the next decade.

Under the budget agreement approved last week in Washington, D.C., House and Senate leaders will establish a 12-member bipartisan panel with members from both chambers to expand the debt reductions already approved. Failure to do so by the end of the year would trigger automatic cuts in military and domestic spending of as much as $1.2 trillion.

“I love trying to solve complex, tough and controversial problems,” Corker said. “It’s up to the leader [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.], but I would love to serve on that committee.”

The freshman senator said Congress needs to make more spending cuts and changes in entitlement programs to rein in government’s size. But Corker said he is “fairly independent” and has worked as a problem solver in business and at Chattanooga’s City Hall.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

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terrybham said...

If a Post Office isn't making enough money to cover its expenses-shut it down. One of the major reasons the USPS is in such dire straits is that they are forced by Congress to maintain Post Offices in every little hick town in America. Anyway, I thought we were trying to cut Federal spending. I smell a whiff of hypocrisy in the air.

August 9, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
Alan8717 said...

The era of daily pick up and deliveries are going the way of the bricks and mortar banks. The daily pickup at homes and businesses are not an efficient use of resources. Obsolete resources such as the downtown post office should be re-cycled into a nice restaurant. This would make an ideal theme restaurant with period finishes and antique furnishings. Perhaps Allan Jones would like to re-cycle this location in addition to his many other Cleveland projects.

August 9, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
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