(CBS News) Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, postal workers have been on the front lines, considered “essential workers” who must continue to do their jobs as usual while others stay home.
But some lawmakers are warning that without more support, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could completely shut down in the next few months, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Last week, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Gerry Connolly, chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the COVID-19 crisis is threatening the future of mail service in the U.S.
“The Postal Service is in need of 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 fall-off in mail across the country, it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate help from Congress and the White House. Every community in America relies on the Postal Service to deliver vital goods and services, including life-saving medications.”
The lawmakers said USPS, which is a quasi-governmental agency that relies on fees rather than taxes, may be forced to shutter as early as June, less than three months from now. They noted that postal workers delivered more than a billion shipments of prescription drugs last year, and ceasing operations during the virus outbreak could have dire consequences for the health of people around the country…
Americans are also counting on postal service workers to deliver millions of coronavirus relief checks — a process that won’t start until the end of April and isn’t scheduled to finish until September.
However, it’s unclear if it will have the funding needed to do so.