Connolly Leads Virginia Members in Urging Leadership to Save the Postal Service

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Washington, May 20, 2020 | comments

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, led fellow members of the Virginia delegation in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership urging the inclusion of provisions that will ensure the solvency and continuation of the U.S. Postal Service in the next coronavirus recovery package. The Postal Service projects a possible 50% decline in mail volume between now and the end of the current fiscal year and, without significant federal investment, it will run out of operating funds by September.

“Nationwide, the Postal Service provides affordable, universal delivery of mail and e-commerce packages to more than 159 million households and businesses each day,” wrote the Members in their letter to leadership. “The Postal Service undergirds a $1.4 billion mailing industry that employs 7.5 million people. Yet the Postal Service went largely ignored in previously enacted coronavirus-related legislation.”

“The Postal Service is a critical part of America’s infrastructure that deserves to be a fundamental focus of our legislative recovery efforts,” the Members continued.  “We support provisions that ensure the postal service will continue operations and deliver essential goods and services to the American people. The Postal Service is more critical to our nation’s success than ever.”

In addition to Connolly, the letter was signed by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).

Full text of the letter is available here and below.


Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer,

We write as the Representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia to commend the bipartisan efforts made to provide resources and assistance to those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  We were disappointed, however, that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act did not include enough funding to provide the United States Postal Service (USPS) with the resources it needs to maintain operations during this unprecedented pandemic. Without significant federal investment in the Postal Service, it will run out of operating funds by September.

While 630,000 postal workers continue to deliver information and packages each day to every household in our nation, the Postal Service projects a possible 50% decline in mail volume between now and the end of the current fiscal year.[1]  This decline is directly tied to COVID-19 impacts.[2] Such a precipitous drop would have a devastating impact on an organization already facing serious financial constraints.  Unfortunately, the CARES Act only included provisions allowing Postal Service to borrow up to $10 billion. This amount is woefully less than the Postal Service needs to survive.[3]

Virginia has nearly 17,000 Postal Service employees who pay roughly $107 million per year in federal taxes. Virginia is home to 907 Postal Service facilities, reaching every business and home in each community – urban, suburban, and rural – across the state. The Postal Service pays nearly $22 million per year to Virginia-based landlords who own the roughly 700 Postal Service-operated facilities. In short, the Postal Service is a vital component of Virginia’s economy as well as serving to tether communities together by delivering mail and packages.[4]

Nationwide, the Postal Service provides affordable, universal delivery of mail and e-commerce packages to more than 159 million households and businesses each day. The Postal Service undergirds a $1.4 billion mailing industry that employs 7.5 million people.[5]

Yet the Postal Service went largely ignored in previously enacted coronavirus-related legislation.

The Postal Service is a critical part of America’s infrastructure that deserves to be a fundamental focus of our legislative recovery efforts.  We support provisions that ensure the postal service will continue operations and deliver essential goods and services to the American people.

The Postal Service is more critical to our nation’s success than ever.

  • Currently, students across our nation rely on the Postal Service for delivery of learning packets from schools, books from nonprofit organizations, and other learning materials from private sector companies.
  • According to Axios, the number of prescription drugs sent through the mail has “skyrocketed over the past few weeks.”[6] The Postal Service made 1 billion prescription drug deliveries last year.[7] 
  • Nearly 26% of citizens vote through vote-by-mail options.[8] Without a functioning and robust Postal Service, voting-by-mail will not be an option in November.

The Postal Service has already proven its value to this nation in a time of crisis. The Postal Service will be essential in delivering COVID vaccines across our nation when they are ready for distribution. We cannot afford to lose this massive infrastructure, which serves every individual in this nation.

We look forward to working with you to take the necessary steps to ensure the solvency and continuation of our Postal Service in the next coronavirus recovery package.

Sincerely,

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