COVID-19 Funding Sought For Postal Service

Members of a newly formed bipartisan Postal Preservation Caucus in Congress will work to ensure the continued operation of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Co-founders of the caucus are Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) and Mark Amodei (R-Nev.). One of their first orders of business was firing off a letter to leaders of both the House and Senate, imploring them for “immediate help” from Congress and the administration.

“First class and business mail volume are dropping at an alarming rate as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis. Mail volume is down by more than 30 percent from the same period last year, and the Postal Service believes volume will continue to decline,” they wrote in their April 30 letter. The Postal Service estimates revenue losses of $13 billion by the end of this fiscal year and $10 billion in the next fiscal year as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

“This is a national emergency. The negative effects of this crisis will be borne hardest by those in rural areas — where millions of Americans are currently sheltering in place and relying on the Postal Service to deliver essential supplies,” they said. “The Postal Service is a fundamental component of America’s economic infrastructure, providing affordable, universal delivery of mail and e-commerce packages to more than 160 million households and businesses.”

The Postal Service propels a $1.6 trillion mailing industry that employs 7.3 million people across all carriers, according to the caucus, doing so while operating as a business that has since 1970 received “next to nothing in taxpayer dollars.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $50 billion in grants and loans, including payroll support, to passenger air carriers. The U.S. airline industry had some 450,000 full-time employees in 2019, meaning that the act provided the airline industry with the equivalent of more than $110,000 per employee. If applied to the 630,000 employees of USPS, that would amount to more than $69 billion, according to the caucus.

The USPS Board of Governors unanimously asked Congress to approve $25 billion in emergency appropriations to offset coronavirus-related losses, $25 billion for “shovel-ready” projects to modernize the Postal Service, and access to $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority from the Department of Treasury. “We strongly support emergency funding for the Postal Service and urge you to do the same.”