US postal service could close by June without more funding, say US lawmakers

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Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, postal workers have been on the front line, seen as “essential workers” who must continue to do their jobs as usual while others stay at home. But some lawmakers warn that without more support, the US Postal Service (USPS) could shut down completely in the coming months, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Chair of the Commission for Oversight and Reform, and Gerry Connolly, Chair of the Government Operations Subcommittee, said in a letter last week to Senate Majority Officer Mitch McConnell that COVID-19 Crisis Threatened US Postal Service Future

“The postal services need urgent help as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis,” they said. “Based on a number of briefings and warnings this week about a critical drop in mail across the country, it has become clear that the postal service will not survive the summer without the immediate help of Congress and the White House. Every community in America relies on the postal service to provide essential goods and services, including vital medicines. ”

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Lawmakers said the USPS, a quasi-government agency that depends on fees rather than taxes, could be forced to close as early as June, in less than three months. They noted that postal workers delivered more than a billion expeditions of prescription drugs last year, and discontinued operations during the virus epidemic could have disastrous consequences for the health of the people of the country.

“The postal service needs help from America and we have to answer that call,” they said.

“These negative effects could be even more serious in rural areas, where millions of Americans have settled there and depend on postal services to deliver basic goods,” lawmakers warned.

Americans also rely on postal workers for deliver millions coronavirus relief checks – a process which will not start before the end of April and should not end before September. However, it is unclear whether he will have the funds to do so.

Maloney and Connelly proposed a bill that would provide $ 25 billion in emergency funding for the postal service, eliminating his debt by stipulating that he would prioritize medical supplies during the crisis. They said the funding would save the jobs of more than 600,000 Americans.

A USPS spokesperson told CBS News on Friday: “The United States Postal Service appreciates the inclusion of a limited emergency borrowing authority during this COVID-19 pandemic. However, the postal service remains concerned that this measure will not be sufficient to allow the postal service to withstand the significant slowdown in our activities that could result directly from the pandemic. “

The press release continued: “In the worst case, such a slowdown could result in insufficient liquidity for the postal services to continue their operations. “

USPS experienced significant loss of needed income during pandemic and subsequent decline in economic activity, spokesman says, but continues to work with lawmakers to guarantee Americans access to mail during this time .

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A U.S. postal worker wears a mask and gloves while crossing a downtown street amid the coronavirus pandemic March 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

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However, when President Donald Trump signed the law, the $ 2 trillion Coronavirus emergency spending bill, it allowed the USPS to borrow only $ 10 billion from the Treasury.

“This is woefully inadequate,” said Fredric V. Rolando, president of the National Associated of Letter Carriers, in a plea for more funding in the next set of laws. “The administration clearly does not understand the importance of the postal service, especially now. “

Democrats are working on a fourth coronavirus spending bill that would give more funding to the USPS, primarily to boost the ability to vote by mail in the next election, said the president of the Room, Nancy Pelosi.

So far, post offices have remained open throughout the crisis, as have hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets and other key businesses. According to a New York Times report, at least 20 postal workers tested positive for the virus last Friday – a number that has likely increased given the rate of US diagnoses.

With more than 266,000 confirmed positive tests, the United States now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, contributing to the global total of more than one million cases, according to data compiled by Johns University. Hopkins. To date, more than 6,900 people have died in the United States from the virus.



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