Coalition Urges Congress to Rescue U.S. Postal Service With Coronavirus Relief Package

C21 Urges Congress to Rescue USPSThe Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21), an organization of public and private companies, trade associations, and other industry groups, which rely on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to do business, today implored members of Congress to provide USPS with adequate emergency funding in the Coronavirus relief package, warning that any less than $15 billion would only keep it operating until September, and could lead to severe cutbacks, or even collapse of mail and package delivery by mid-summer.

“The coronavirus crisis is threatening to destroy the U.S. Postal Service, and with it, the ability to provide essential goods and services to the American public. As businesses shutter and related mail and packaging declines, postal revenues are sinking like a stone – a trend that could lead to retrenchment or even the collapse of our postal system by the end of June,” said Art Sackler, manager of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service. “The U.S. House proposal to provide $25 billion in support and restructure $11 billion in debt would keep the Postal Service in operation into 2021. The Senate is considering $13 billion, an amount which would help only with this year. Debt relief alone is not a solution. We urge Congress to deliver financial support right away.”

Sackler continued, “While nearly every economic sector needs help, and Congress must prioritize funding for medical supplies, it’s important to remember that the Postal Service is relied upon by every American, now more than ever as the public shelters in place. Not only does the Postal Service deliver over a billion prescription medications and other critical supplies each year, but it is also the only delivery service which goes everywhere in the U.S., not just to places with denser populations. Without the Postal Service, rural communities could be cut off from crucial provisions, while local ecommerce operations and critical communications like voting by mail would be near-impossible nationwide. The collapse of the Postal Service would deal a physical and psychic blow to our country.”

Assuming even a mild recession, USPS will lose billions in additional revenues as companies retrench or close. Its cash-on-hand is just $8.4 billion. To preserve the Postal Service and its universal service and other public obligations, the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service recommends:

A large, two-year public service appropriation to help meet the Postal Service’s universal service and other public obligations. Given current declines in mail and package volume, at least $20 billion may be necessary;
Current USPS debt to the Treasury should be forgiven and a debt limit of at least $15 billion restored;
Its unique retiree health prefunding mandate, responsible for 80% of USPS losses from 2007 – 2019 must be repealed or payments delayed for a decade;
USPS should be allowed to invest money from its retiree health funds in securities in a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)-like manner to improve returns and funding; and
The Postal Regulatory Commission must be required to defer and recalculate its proposal to permit postal rate increases well beyond inflation; this would be unaffordable in a pandemic and recession – especially for millions of businesses to connect to consumers.

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