The US Postal Service (USPS) is in financial trouble. It’s losing about $2 billion a month as mail marketers halt campaigns due to the sudden pandemic-induced economic meltdown.
Yet the federal agency is more essential than ever, delivering mail to the most remote American addresses. And it will only become more critical as the November presidential election approaches and mail-in voting grows more appealing.
The United States Postal Service has warned that it will “run out of cash” by the fall without intervention—and Donald Trump appears unwilling to help. According to the Washington Post, the president vowed to veto the $2 trillion rescue package Congress passed last month if it contained any bailout money for this crucial independent agency, which has been under additional strain due to the coronavirus crisis. He has instead called for USPS to “raise the prices” on companies like Amazon. “They ought to do that, and we are looking into it,” the president said Wednesday. “We’ve been pushing them now for over a year.”
Trump has frequently attacked USPS, roping the agency into his long-running blood feud with Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos, who also owns another Trump target: the Washington Post. Trump has said the company costs the postal service “massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” calling for USPS to raise their prices—something experts and the USPS Board of Governors have recommended against. Already on unstable financial footing, the postal service had the rug pulled out from underneath it by the COVID pandemic. “The Postal Service was technically insolvent to begin with, but the pandemic has completely changed the environment here,” Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly, whose oversight subcommittee oversees the agency, told CNN. “The mail volume drop is catastrophic.” The service has asked for $75 billion to stay afloat, but the White House has rejected pleas for help.
New York Magazine
As Americans shelter in place across the country, the U.S. Postal Service has assumed special importance in their lives. Postal workers deliver medicines and toiletries; in states that allow voting by mail, they help democracy function. But the economic crisis created by the novel coronavirus has dealt a serious blow to the USPS, and the Trump administration isn’t prepared to help. The recent stimulus package omitted any assistance for the USPS, which employs over 600,000 people. “We told them very clearly that the president was not going to sign the bill if [money for the Postal Service] was in it,” an anonymous White House aide told the Washington Post. “I don’t know if we used the V-bomb, but the president was not going to sign it, and we told them that.”
Though the pandemic has created an acute crisis for the USPS, the postal service has been vulnerable for a long time. To conservatives, it’s an obstacle in the path to small government, and some support its full privatization. A 2006 law requiring the postal service to fund retirement health benefits ahead of time created further financial strain. The Trump White House may believe it has a rare opportunity before it to allow the USPS to die. That would be a disaster for workers, and for the millions of Americans who rely on the postal service.
In These Times
Among the most prominent victims of the coronavirus financial crisis is the United States Postal Service, which could quite literally run out of money to operate if the federal government does not approve a rescue package for it soon. The Trump administration—which, like much of the GOP, has long advocated for cutbacks and privatization of the postal service—actively prevented the USPS from being bailed out in the CARES Act, even as Donald Trump has made a show of publicly thanking Fedex and UPS for their work. Not very subtle.
Fifty years ago last month, U.S. postal workers staged an unprecedented and historic eight-day strike, backing down the Nixon administration and winning the right to collective bargaining. A half century later, Mark Dimondstein, the leader of the 200,000-strong American Postal Workers Union, says that the Trump administration is using today’s crisis as an opportunity to destroy the postal service as a public entity once and for all. In These Times spoke to Dimondstein about the existential peril facing postal workers, and what they plan to do about it.
International Business Times
For many Americans, checking the mailbox is a daily ritual, a constant in a quickly changing world that can yield anything from wedding invitations to tax audits to new clothes.
But as with many ordinary things as the coronavirus crisis unfolds, the US Postal Service — already compromised by a mountain of debt — has a most uncertain future.
“The Postal Service is holding on for dear life,” congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said last week.
If you’ve checked your mail lately, you may have noticed there’s just not much of it.
The U.S. Postal Service could be another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
“A lot of businesses have ceased to do advertising through the mail,” says Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., “and as a result, mail volume has collapsed.”
He says the decline could be as much as 60% by the end of the year, which he says would be “catastrophic” for the agency.
The $2 trillion emergency bill approved by Congress last month included a $10 billion loan for the Postal Service, but Connolly, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, says that’s not what the agency needs.
The financially strapped United States Postal Service wound up with crumbs in the $2.2 trillion stimulus deal, despite playing a vital role in our nation’s public health and economic stability at this time of crisis.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) accused President Trump of personally intervening to strip a Democratic postal rescue proposal from the final bill. Asked on Tuesday for his response, Trump lashed out at the beleaguered Postal Service with a stream of false accusations.
“They lose money every time they deliver a package for Amazon or these other internet companies,” Trump said. “If they’d raise the prices by, actually a lot, then you’d find out that the post office could make money or break even. But they don’t do that…Tell your Democrat friend that he should focus on that.”
New York Times
WASHINGTON — Ravaged by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Postal Service appealed to lawmakers on Thursday for an $89 billion lifeline, telling them that it could run out of cash by the end of September if Congress fails to act.
But as Washington begins to debate the next round of government relief to prop up the virus-plagued economy, a Postal Service bailout has already emerged as a political sticking point, with Democrats pressing to deliver one and President Trump, a persistent critic of the agency, opposed. The debate appears to be playing out along the same fault lines that have divided the two sides for years as they have quibbled over how to position the cash-strapped agency — one of the government’s oldest and most reliable entities — for an increasingly digital future.
President Trump this week dismissed requests for emergency funding for the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, attributing its financial woes to mismanagement as the agency sounds the alarm about the negative impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, House Democrats unveiled a plan for a different stimulus package that included a $25 billion cash injection into the Postal Service. The Senate compromise left that provision out, instead providing USPS with a $10 billion line of credit. In a letter to congressional leadership on Tuesday, a group of House Democrats renewed their push for a $25 billion appropriation in a forthcoming “phase four” coronavirus relief bill expected to receive a vote in the coming days.