Long Island, NY – Americans want the government to help the post office the same way they helped the airlines.
Like many businesses in the United States, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is facing huge revenue declines thanks to COVID-19. Postmaster General Megan Brennan told Congress in early April they would “run out of cash” by the end of the fiscal year in September without help from Congress and the administration, in part due to extreme losses being suffered as a result of COVID-19.
Support for a bailout in Washington has been mixed. Trump has said that he will veto any bill that has money to prop up the postal service. He later said that money will only go to the post office if they raise the price of postage.
“If they don’t raise the price, I’m not signing anything, so they’ll raise the price so that they become maybe even profitable, but so they lose much less money. And if they don’t do it, I’m not signing anything and I’m not authorizing you to do anything,” Trump said in a White House press conference alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The post office, which is constitutionally mandated, is in financial trouble because of lower demand during the pandemic, but also because Congress requires them to fund their pension obligations 75 years in advance. This is a requirement no other government agency or company has to meet.
While Trump may not like the post office, Americans overwhelmingly do. One poll, that was commissioned by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), found that 70% of Americans support direct financial assistance to the postal service. This included 96% of Democrats and 90% of Republicans. Another poll, conducted by the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) found 68% of Americans support adding the post office to the list of companies and organizations that receive financial support in the next federal stimulus, with only 15% opposing the move. The poll also showed that about 50% of voters say they would be less likely to vote for their Senate or House representative if they voted against bailing out the post office and allowed it to run out of money.
“As letter carriers know, the conversation about Postal Service finances is nothing new,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “Unfortunately, this pandemic continues to cripple the economy resulting in sharp declines in revenue for the Postal Service, which is expected to run out of money in September if Congress and the White House fail to intervene. Thankfully, voters not only understand the peril but also believe we must fund the agency. NALC stands ready to work with Congress and the White House to stabilize the agency in the next stimulus package so the Postal Service can continue to serve the needs of 160 million households every day.”