Queens Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is calling for Congress and the White House to provide relief for the United States Postal Service in the next COVID-19 stimulus package after learning about the devastating impact the crisis has had on their finances.
Postmaster General of the United States and Chief Executive Officer Megan J. Brennan spoke about the financial struggles USPS is currently facing as well as the steps Congress and President Donald Trump must take to ensure continued delivery of essential information, packages, and services during a video briefing with the members of Congress’ Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by Maloney, on Thursday, April 9.
“I want to commend the brave men and women of the Postal Service for all they are doing in the midst of this pandemic,” Maloney said. “The Postal Service is holding on for dear life, and unless Congress and the White House provide meaningful relief in the next stimulus bill, the Postal Service could cease to exist.”
The Postal Service is made up of more than 31,600 retail locations and employs more than 650,000 people in the country. It also undergirds a more than $1.7 trillion mailing industry that employs more than 7.5 million people.
Brennan emphasized the Postal Service will “run out of cash this fiscal year” without help from Congress and the White House administration, they also anticipate a “$13 billion revenue loss directly to COVID-19 this fiscal year and a $54.3 billion additional losses over ten years,” according to Maloney’s office.
The bipartisan Postal Service Board of Governors, appointed by President Trump, asked Congress to provide the Postal Service with a $25 billion emergency appropriations to offset coronavirus-related losses, $25 billion grant to fund “shovel-ready” projects to modernize the Postal Service, and access to $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority from Treasury.
QNS previously reported post offices in Ridgewood and Middle Village have struggled to get Queens residents their mail as call out rates increase, which they say is due to a lack of communication from management in terms of positive COVID-19 cases within their facilities as well as a lack of thorough cleaning of their workplaces and equipment.
A USPS spokesperson told QNS that as of March 30, 207 postal employees tested positive for COVID-19.
The letter carriers who spoke with QNS described a sense of unease and fear that they’re not only putting their lives at risk by delivering essential mail, but also their customers’ lives by unknowingly transmitting the virus through the mail.
While the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control maintain there’s a low risk of catching the virus through the mail, there have been scientific studies that found the virus can live on certain surfaces for days, including for 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and steel.
National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) mentioned the critical role postal service workers have during the pandemic.
“Reminiscent of their courageous service in response to 2001 anthrax attacks, the dedicated employees of the U.S. Postal Service are serving a critical role in our nationwide pandemic relief efforts — from delivering essential medical supplies and protective equipment to facilitating voting by mail in preparation for the 2020 election,” Lynch said in a statement. “As we develop additional stimulus legislation, it is imperative that we include robust funding for the Postal Service, our most trusted government institution, to ensure the continuation of vital services for the American people and protect the right of every citizen to vote in 2020.”